The 3rd Congressional District is rich in culture and tradition. It includes 15 Pueblo tribes, the Jicarilla Apache Nation and the Navajo Nation. The indigenous communities in this region have lived in the same location longer than any other cultures in the country. These tribal communities add to the 3rd district's diverse culture in their own ways. Rep. Lujan grew up in Nambe, a small community that is nestled between two Pueblos.
As a longtime friend of the Pueblos and Tribal nations - Rep. Lujan has always respected tribal sovereignty, and he understands the important role of Tribal and Pueblo governments in our state. Sovereignty is an inherent right that is recognized and reaffirmed by the United States Constitution. It must be protected and respected.
During his time as Chairman of the New Mexico Public Regulation Commission, Rep. Lujan worked with the Commission to adopt a resolution that recognized our government-to-government relationship concerning regulatory processes with sovereign Indian Nations.
In Congress, Rep. Lujan is continuing to work on behalf of Native Americans. Rep. Lujan fought for increased funding for BIA and IHS in the American Recovery and Reinvestment Act and the House Interior Appropriations Bills. He also fought to have the Indian Health Care Improvements Act included in health insurance reform. Language to permanently reauthorize the Indian Health Care Improvement Act (IHCIA), which governs the Indian Health Care System (IHS), is included in the Affordable Health Care for America Act. IHS is the provider of choice for many Native American patients. Unfortunately, IHCIA was last reauthorized in 1992, and that reauthorization expired eight years ago. Reauthorization will allow much-needed reforms to the Indian Health Service to move forward.
In addition to supporting key legislative initiatives, Rep. Lujan helped to pass the Water Quality Investment Act, which is a renewed commitment to address our nation's substantial needs for water and wastewater infrastructure. The ability of cities, rural water systems and tribal communities to ensure water quality for our nation's families is critical to the health of our country and will help create jobs.
In the American Clean Energy and Security Act, Rep. Luján worked with Chairman Markey to incorporate language in the Innovation Hubs section of the bill that supports Tribal Colleges. The Energy Innovation Hubs are made up of consortia of university and private research communities, industry, national laboratories and other energy innovation participants to develop and transfer clean energy technology into the marketplace. Rep. Lujan's language specifies that in establishing three of the eight Energy Innovation Hubs under this section, the Secretary of Energy is required to give special consideration to consortium applicants that include at least one Hispanic Serving Institution or Tribal College.