Jamescita Peshlakai is a Democratic member of the Arizona State Senate, serving since 2017. She previously served in the Arizona House of Representatives from 2013 until 2015, and served as co-Minority Whip for the 2018 sitting of the state senate. Peshlakai is a member of the Navajo Nation. She served in the Persian Gulf War. Before her legislative service, Peshlakai provided agricultural outreach to Native Americans on behalf of the USDA.

AZ State Senator Jamescita Peshlakai

Peshlakai earned her bachelor’s degree from Northern Arizona University in 1998 and her master’s degree in educational psychology in 2004.

Peshlakai served in the U.S. Army from 1989 to 1997. She served in the Persian Gulf War from 1990 to 1991.After leaving the Army, she became lead coordinator for Navajo Nation Traditional Agricultural Outreach, a nonprofit group. She was also involved in protests of development in the San Francisco Peaks, such as the Arizona Snowbowl.

“I think I found my voice because eventually being a veteran, a Native American, a woman, we have … sacred duties of women, sacred duties of mothers. And that is to protect the future of our children. I think for me, the prayers of my people, the prayers of the medicine men are tied into the land, the mountains, the rivers, the waters, everything. And so I feel kinship with the places and the environment where I come from. They protected me in my life, so I, in turn, protect those sites.”

Why She Ran: “I’ve done so much outreach, been so concerned about the future of the people of Arizona, not just in tradition and culture and religion and spirituality, but also in education, health care, workforce issues, energy, everything.”

Her Focus: Helping rural veterans, protecting sacred sites and the environment in her district.

She’s a member of the Democratic Caucus, Native American Caucus, Latino Caucus and Veterans Caucus. Member of the Energy, Environment, and Natural Resources and the Transportation and Technology Committees.

This is the transcript of some highlights from the press conference of Arizona State Senator Jamescita Peshlakai:

 I am Navajo of the Tangle People Clan. born for the Red House Clan and I represent legislative district number 7 in Arizona. Arizona has 23 tribes and eight of those are in my district,  the largest legislative district in the country. There are over 500 tribes.

This Build Back Better plan is critical for Native Americans in the United States because we haven’t had that opportunity and the chance to build up in the first place. Federal policies and State policies have always put Native American communities on the back burner, and so, the Build Back Better plan has infrastructure dollars in there that would create for the very first time  infrastructure for communities and populations that have never had running water or electricity. We are living in Third World conditions within the midst of the United States, the most developed and powerful country in the world in 2021.

We also have . . .the highest rate of service among our Native American populations. . . We joined the military because of poverty. We have the highest unemployment rates in the country and are living in in conditions that have no infrastructure and no hope for employment. This is the reason why we are drafted out of poverty. . . We are desperately awaiting  a ray of hope from Congress. . .

We are directly impacted by climate change, each every day very directly. If you don’t have AC and and the temperatures keep rising  higher and higher every year you are in harm’s way. That’s why this Bill Back Better Act  is critical for us, for not only our elders and our children and the future. It will create a foundation for all future generations to move forward. . .

We’re asking for the very basic improvements – that every every other American takes for granted. . .

We also need broadband. There are some rural areas You cannot communicate with unless you have a satellite phone. At the bottom of the Grand Canyon I have a tribe I cannot reach.  I tried.  The Build Back Better Act is a first step for us because we haven’t had the opportunity before. It addresses so many very fundamental basic things that every other American takes for granted. We must have this for our veterans, and to join the rest of the world in what can only be a brighter future from this point forward.