San Juan County, Utah, is preparing for a seismic shift on its county commission.
Although the San Juan Record reported that not all the mail ballots had been counted Wednesday, the Salt Lake Tribune and other sources were reporting that Democrat Willie Grayeyes appears to have won a seat on the commission, defeating Republican Kelly Laws in District 2.
Coupled with the victory of Democrat Kenneth Maryboy in District 3 over a write-in candidate, the results indicate that San Juan County will have its first-ever Navajo-majority commission.
In the other district, incumbent Bruce Adams, a Republican, coasted to victory.
Grayeyes had been struck from the ballot by the county earlier this season over questions of his residency, but a judge ruled that he was to be put back on.
If the results stand, the fact that there are two Native American Democrats on the commission could mean major changes in the county’s stance on public lands, Bears Ears National Monument, historic road claims, and other issues.
The road to Grayeyes’ victory was paved by earlier rulings by a federal judge that forced the county to redraw its voting districts for the commission as well as the school board in order to ensure that Native Americans, who constitute a slight majority of the population in the county, were fairly represented.
In other Utah news, the state passed a ballot measure allowing the use of medical marijuana and also voted to expand Medicaid.
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Lujan Grisham will replace Susanah Martinez, a Republican who in 2010 was the first Latina woman ever elected governor in the country.
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