Dwight Lomayesva Jr. has been elected Vice Chairman of the Colorado River Indian Tribes. In a special election held Saturday after the resignation of Keith Moses in July, Lomayesva received by far the most votes out of the four candidates in the race.
Lomayesva is a civil engineer and part-time farmer who taught at Cal State Fullerton, University of California at Riverside, San Diego State University and became a professor at Riverside College.
“Although I’ve been away from the reservation for a few years, my job kept me away, I was raised here on the reservation on land that was assigned to my mother and father way back in 1945,” Lomayesva said in a candidates video by CRIT Media.
He cited his education and experience as being key parts of his platform to run for office, including an undergraduate degree in civil engineering and masters degree in history and Native American land tenure. He was also a union leader for faculty, negotiating pay contracts and other personnel matters in the education system.
“There’s a lot of issues before the people that are very, very important and I think I can be an asset in the discussion to solve these problems,” Lomayesva said.
He cited water as a central issue, with a severe drought creating conditions that he says will likely create “intense pressure” on the Tribes to make its water allocation available in the coming years. He said that he would like to help with the contracts and proposals that will be put before the Tribal Council, using his understanding of civil engineering, hydrology and negotiations. He also said tribal members should be involved in the decision-making.
Other issues Lomayesva listed are education (which has a “good structure” he says, but need work on quality), CRIT’s 26 enterprises (more profits of which, he says, should go back into the enterprises and making them better), improving communications (which he says are underfunded), farming (which he says the Tribe can do more to support), nepotism and favoritism.
Lomayesva received 56.11 percent of the vote in Saturday’s election against former Chairman Dennis Patch, Teddy Goodman and Richard Evans. The election will allow him to step in and complete the existing term for Vice Chairman which ends in December 2022.