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Udall, of N.M., named vice-chair of Native caucus

The following is a press release from Rep. Tom Udall (D-N.M.).

Representative Tom Udall, D-N.M., Monday confirmed that he has been tapped as vice-chairman of the Congressional Native American Caucus. The bipartisan 102-member caucus works to bring sharper focus to issues related to the most critical and endemic problems facing American Indian and other native populations.

"I am eager to tackle an ambitious agenda for New Mexico's tribes," Udall said. "I want us to focus the efforts of the federal government to create new jobs and new opportunity for American Indian entrepreneurs and tribally-owned businesses. Our goal should be to build sustainable tribal economies and vibrant businesses. I pledge to work directly with tribal governments to find solutions to these and other pressing matters affecting all of Indian Country."

The Congressional Native American Caucus, formed in 1997, serves as an organization to educate Members of Congress on the issues affecting Native Americans. Some of the issues the caucus seeks to address include sovereign rights of tribes; changes in welfare laws, the Indian Child Welfare Act, Indian gaming issues, education and housing, and the treatment of tribal trust lands. The caucus also convenes briefings, forums and prepares background position papers on legislative proposals that impact Native American Tribes.

The caucus is chaired by Representatives J.D. Hayworth, R-Ariz., and Dale Kildee, D-Mich.

Udall currently serves as a member of the House Resources Committee - the committee with jurisdiction over all matters regarding the relations of the United States with Native Americans and American Indian tribes - and he has been a long-time defender of the sovereign status of Indian tribal governments.

A recognized advocate for New Mexico's tribes, Udall's Third Congressional District is 18.9 percent Native American. The federal lawmaker represents 14 pueblos, the Jicarilla Apache Tribe, and the New Mexico portion of the Navajo Nation.

Relevant Links:
Rep. Tom Udall - http://www.house.gov/tomudall

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