WASHINGTON, D.C. (Feb. 1, 2019) - Today, U.S. Senator Martin Heinrich (D-N.M.) announced that former Pueblo of Acoma Governor Kurt Riley will be his special guest at President Trump’s State of the Union Address on Tuesday, February 5, 2019. During the recent government shutdown, the lapse in funding hampered critical public safety, child welfare, and health care programs at Indian Health Service (IHS) and Bureau of Indian Affairs (BIA).
“Our tribal nations in Indian Country were disproportionately hurt by the shutdown and forced to struggle to meet many basic needs for their communities. It is an honor to have Governor Riley as my guest for the State of the Union and have the opportunity to shine a light on the long-lasting impact the shutdown will have in tribal communities,” said Senator Heinrich. “I will keep fighting to ensure we meet the trust obligation under federal treaty rights to guarantee tribes have funding for health care, housing, and other essential services.”
“I am honored to be Senator Heinrich’s guest at the State of the Union. I am grateful that Senator Heinrich is standing up for New Mexico’s tribes and pueblos, who continue to cope with the consequences of the longest government shutdown in American history. Essential services in Indian Country like health care, transportation, and law enforcement went unfunded for over a month. This put tribal governments under great duress to deliver for our communities,” said Governor Riley. “It is critical that President Trump not use another shutdown as political leverage, but rather work towards repairing the damage caused by this past shutdown and ensure that our families and communities are made whole.”
Kurt Riley completed his third term as the appointed Governor of the Pueblo of Acoma in 2018. He also served as 2nd Lieutenant Governor of the Pueblo in 2015. He is the Chairman of the Ten Southern Pueblo Council of Governors and co-chairs the All Pueblo Council of Governors Natural Resources and Health Committees.
Mr. Riley served in the United States Navy as a Navy Corpsman, is a graduate of the University of New Mexico College of Pharmacy and is a retired Captain of the United States Public Health Service Commission Corps, serving 25 years with Indian Health Service. Prior to his appointment as a Tribal Leader, Mr. Riley owned and operated a private health care Consulting Business.
He is here representing the Leadership of the All Pueblo Council of Governors which is comprised of 20 sovereign Tribal Governments in New Mexico and Texas.