In response to the open letter from Sydney Whitley published in the Roundup on Sept. 9, 2005, I think Ms. Whitley is greatly misinformed on several important issues to our nation and rural Arizona. I would like to set the record straight.
I did promise to secure funds for Native Americans and for the new Tonto Basin Bridge, and I delivered in both instances. In fact, it is hard to see how Sydney missed the news because the Payson Roundup ran front-page stories on the almost $3 million in federal funds for the new Tonto Basin Bridge on Aug. 2, 2005 and Aug. 9, 2005. Additionally, I stepped in to help the residents who live on Houston Mesa Road to prevent its closure last fall, which would have forced people to travel on the control road for months during the winter.
Assisting our Native American communities in rural Arizona is one of my top priorities. Most recently, I secured almost $4.5 million to improve roadways and rural transportation for communities on the Navajo Nation. I was also able to secure more than $10 million in new federal funds to construct new health-care clinics on the Navajo and the San Carlos Apache nations. These clinics will provide quality health-care services to these communities so residents will not have to travel hundreds of miles when they are sick or injured. In addition to the new health-care clinics, I was able to secure a low interest loan for a new dental clinic on the Navajo Nation. Improving education is also a priority, and I was able to get more than $2 million in federal funds to help Dine College, the oldest tribal college in the nation, achieve four-year status and partner with the University of Arizona to offer a diverse array of four-year degrees. This is in addition to legislation that I sponsored and which passed the House to provide flexibility to Native American communities and assist them with building affordable housing.
I am opposed to raises for members of Congress and vote against such measures each time they have been brought up since I have been in Congress. I encourage anyone with questions such as these to contact me directly so I can correct inaccurate facts and statements.
Rick Renzi, United States Congressman, First District of Arizona