Internet Explorer 11 is not supported

For optimal browsing, we recommend Chrome, Firefox or Safari browsers.

Rebecca M. Benally

Commissioner, San Juan County, Utah

1611_Benally 476a
San Juan County is an expansive tract in southwest Utah where Native Americans make up a majority of the population. But when Rebecca Benally, a member of the Diné (Navajo) people, won a seat on the county commission in 2015, she was the first Native American woman to hold the post. 

A big part of her job so far, Benally says, has been to reduce tensions between whites and Native Americans, and improve communications between the two groups.

Benally has taken on a number of other thorny issues as well. She was a vocal opponent of designating 1.9 million acres in the area as the Bears Ears National Monument, a position that put her at odds with other Native American groups. She’s concerned Native Americans will lose control of the lands with the federal designation. 

Another priority has been to improve long-neglected roads on the Navajo reservation. Many of the 786 miles of roads on the reservation are still made of dirt, which makes it hard for vehicles like school buses to pass during inclement weather. “Our students miss an average of 10 days of school a year because of roads,” she says. “So [improving them] is my biggest mission and goal.”

Read about the Women in Government program and the rest of the honorees.

Caroline Cournoyer is GOVERNING's senior web editor.
Special Projects
Sponsored Stories
Sponsored
In this episode, Marianne Steger explains why health care for Pre-Medicare retirees and active employees just got easier.
Sponsored
Government organizations around the world are experiencing the consequences of plagiarism firsthand. A simple mistake can lead to loss of reputation, loss of trust and even lawsuits. It’s important to avoid plagiarism at all costs, and government organizations are held to a particularly high standard. Fortunately, technological solutions such as iThenticate allow government organizations to avoid instances of text plagiarism in an efficient manner.
Sponsored
Creating meaningful citizen experiences in a post-COVID world requires embracing digital initiatives like secure and ethical data sharing, artificial intelligence and more.
Sponsored
GHD identified four themes critical for municipalities to address to reach net-zero by 2050. Will you be ready?
Sponsored
As more state and local jurisdictions have placed a priority on creating sustainable and resilient communities, many have set strong targets to reduce the energy use and greenhouse gases (GHGs) associated with commercial and residential buildings.
Sponsored
As more people get vaccinated and states begin to roll back some of the restrictions put in place due to the COVID-19 pandemic — schools, agencies and workplaces are working on a plan on how to safely return to normal.
Sponsored
The solutions will be a permanent part of government even after the pandemic is over.
Sponsored
See simple ways agencies can improve the citizen engagement experience and make online work environments safer without busting the budget.
Sponsored
Whether your agency is already a well-oiled DevOps machine, or whether you’re just in the beginning stages of adopting a new software development methodology, one thing is certain: The security of your product is a top-of-mind concern.