Published September 14, 2017
WINDOW ROCK – President Russell Begaye and Vice President Jonathan Nez were saddened today to learn of the passing of former U.S. Senator Pete Domenici.
Sen. Domenici died on Wednesday morning in Albuquerque, N.M. He passed away following complications from abdominal surgery. He was 85.
President Russell Begaye recognized Sen. Domenici’s early involvement in strengthening the Navajo economy.
“Sen. Domenici has been a friend to the Navajo Nation in helping build its economy through early programs like the Office of Navajo Economic Opportunity,” he said. “Those programs helped catapult the Nation toward having a strong economic base.”
The president praised Domenici’s advocacy in fostering the Nation’s involvement in the defense industry by partnering with Raytheon, as well as in bringing companies like General Dynamics onto the Navajo Nation.
“He has been involved with many developments on the Navajo Nation,” President Begaye said. “He was good friend that will be missed.”
Vice President Jonathan Nez said that Sen. Domenici was a great leader who championed bipartisanship and advocated for issues on behalf of Indian Country.
“Our Nation extends our prayers to his family and the state of New Mexico,” he said.
The New Mexico Republican was the longest serving U.S. Senator in New Mexico’s history, serving six terms in the Senate. In 2007, Domenici was diagnosed with degenerative brain disease which ultimately led to his retirement at the end of his term in 2009.
Domenici was born in Albuquerque, N.M. in 1932 to Italian immigrant parents. He was 85 years old when he died.
“During his term as Senator, he has been a friend not only to Navajo but to many other tribes,” President Begaye said. “We will miss him and we extend our condolences to his family and to his constituents including the Navajo Nation.”
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