Press Release — West Valley Resort Opponents Offer Third Job-Killing Bill

As Construction Moves Forward, Opponents Spending Millions to Try and Stop Positive Economic Development

SELLS, Ariz. – With construction of the Tohono O’odham Nation’s West Valley Resort fully underway, two East Valley tribes are again lobbying for the introduction of proposed federal legislation that would create a protected market for their current gaming operations. The singular focus of this misguided legislation is to halt the creation of thousands of new jobs and positive economic development in the West Valley.

The proposed legislation overturns the many court and federal agency rulings (more than a dozen and counting), which have confirmed the United States’ obligation to respect the Nation’s right to its West Valley Reservation and its right to conduct Indian gaming there. This is the third time in as many Congresses that these tribes are trying to re-write federal law to create for themselves a market monopoly in the greater Phoenix area — something the federal courts have several times rejected. Public record filings reveal that together the Gila River Indian Community and the Salt River Indian Community already have spent more than $14 million on lobbyists and campaign contributions against the Nation’s economic development project.

The Nation’s West Valley Reservation, where the economic development project is taking place, is located between Glendale and Peoria. Both cities support the project. The nearby cities of Tolleson and Surprise also officially support the Nation’s development at the site. Construction of the gaming facility is fully underway and will be completed by the fourth quarter of 2015. In addition to hundreds of construction jobs, more than 500 permanent jobs will be created this year. This will rise to more than 3,000 permanent jobs as the rest of the complex is built out.

In the face of such unified public support, the opposition continues to rely on tactics of confusion and misinformation. Virtually every argument raised by opponents has already been addressed in the courts and thrown out on its merits.

Tohono O’odham Nation Chairman Ned Norris, Jr. said, “Congress should not allow self-serving special interests to rewrite both history and existing law to protect their market share.” Chairman Norris went on to say, “The courts have spoken, and this land is now part of the Tohono O’odham Nation’s reservation. Construction is fully underway and we are committed to completing a beautiful new facility and creating more than 500 permanent jobs this year.”

The Tohono O’odham Nation is a federally-recognized Indian tribe, with reservation lands in Maricopa County, Pinal County, and Pima County, Arizona. The West Valley Resort is located on the Nation’s reservation land at 95th and Northern avenues. It will generate thousands of new jobs and more than $300 million in annual economic impact. For more information, visit www.westvalleyresort.com.

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