Noreen Kelly

Democrat for New Mexico State Senate District 4


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Meet NoreenLifelong New Mexican

Hello my people, my name is Noreen Kelly. My clans are: I am Bitter Water born for the within his cover. Meadow people are my maternal grandfathers and Red Running into the Water are my paternal grandfathers.

Yá’át’ééh Shidine’é. Noreen Kelly yinishyé. Ádóone’é nishłínígíí tódích’íi’nii nishłį́. Bit’ahnii ‘eí bá shishchíín. Haltsooí ‘eí dashicheii nááná. Táchii’nií ‘eí dashinálí.

The IssuesThat Matter to New Mexico

COVID-19

COVID-19 (Coronavirus) is a universal health pandemic that affects the human population. COVID-19 is a new virus that has not been previously identified. COVID-19 is a respiratory illness that spreads from person to person. COVID-19 has had a major impact on daily life, education, economy, and health. McKinley County has been impacted by COVID-19. I understand that in McKinley County, 37.5% of the population is at the poverty line, and within McKinley County 79.2% of the population are of Indigenous Descent. COVID-19 affects all socio-economic backgrounds. However, vulnerable populations are at-risk due to their lack of infrastructure, inadequate healthcare, limited internet access, living conditions and access to water.

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I understand the meaning of hauling water. I understand how important water is. In the Diné (Navajo) language, we say “Tó’ éí ííná át’é” which translates into the meaning of Water is life. Not having access to running water is a barrier to sanitary living conditions. The current pandemic that we are in will require recovery efforts in terms of funding to tribal nations, adequate healthcare, education, access to clean water, and employment labor rights. I will work for all people of McKinley County to advocate for these rights mentioned above and ensure that we are prepared for futures to come. Click here for more information from The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention on COVID-19.

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Environmental Justice

I am an environmental activist and believe in the protection of Mother Earth and Father Sky. I strongly support two environmental justice issues:

Uranium

Uranium is an issue that impacts the health of communities in McKinley County. I am from the community of Church Rock, and I am a life-long advocate of fighting against Uranium mines on the Navajo Nation. Uranium hits close to home.

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On July 16, 1979 there was a Uranium Tailing Spill in Church Rock, which resulted in contamination of the land and higher rates of illnesses in the Church Rock area. I support efforts to establish an official Uranium Blue Ribbon Task Force in McKinley County. Please click here to see the efforts for the importance of establishing an official Uranium Blue Ribbon Task Force. I will work towards advocating for uranium clean-up efforts, the protection of cultural lands, and educate people on the health impacts of past uranium mining. It is important to note that relocation efforts are in place, as we speak. There are families who have been displaced and have to relocate due to the high contamination of uranium in the area. Please click here to learn about uranium on the Navajo Nation. Please help me support saying, Doodá Łeetso (No to Uranium) and help protect our cultural lands and pristine environment.

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Electric School Buses

I support the idea of transitioning our local school buses from fossil fuel to electric school buses. In McKinley County, a recent Health Impact Assessment showed that McKinley has one of the highest asthma rates in the State of New Mexico.

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Please click here to access a recent Health Impact Assessment (HIA) entitled, “Transporting New Mexican Children Into The Future: An Assessment of Health Impacts of Moving to Electric School Buses on School-Aged Children and Their Families”. I understand that children have to take long bus rides to school, and at times it could take a 2-hour roundtrip bus ride. I see that a long bus ride has negative impacts on children’s health and academics. I am in full support of transitioning from fossil fuels to clean energy. Please click here to read about the VW Settlement in the State of New Mexico and how it can help our local school buses transfer from fossil fuel to electric school buses. Overall, this will be an investment in our children’s health and well-being. I want to bring to light the environmental injustices that People of Color face on a daily basis.

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Language Preservation and Early Childhood Education

Being fluent in the Diné/Navajo Language, I believe in the importance of culture and language preservation. It is said that learning a language before the age of 5 is easier to retain and the language will remain with you. I am a Board Member for Wingate School Board, and I believe that we need to invest in Early Childhood Funding, including Language Preservation for our Indigenous children in McKinley County.

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Investing in Early Childhood Funding will increase higher graduation rates, a decrease in criminal activity, and higher education, plus much more! Please click here to read more about the importance of language preservation in the State of New Mexico. You can also click here to learn about the importance of Early Childhood in the State of New Mexico. I fully support in investing in our children at an early age and provide children the opportunity to learn their language and culture.

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Food Sovereignty

Food Sovereignty is the right to healthy and culturally appropriate food. I fully support that all people should have access to healthy and culturally appropriated foods. The term food desert is a familiar concept to those who live on the Navajo Nation and Pueblos. A food desert refers to a region where access to fresh food is limited. I am in full support of providing better opportunities to access fresh food and local resources. Having healthier options for people will decrease the high diabetes rate along with other various health illnesses. Please click here to learn about the importance of Food Sovereignty on the Navajo Nation.

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