Who am I?
Wenona Benally Baldenegro, a member of the Navajo Nation, grew up in rural northern Arizona on the Navajo Reservation. She was raised in a single-parent home with three brothers and attended public schools in Kayenta, Arizona, graduating as salutatorian from Monument Valley High School in 1996. Motivated by her mother to attend college in order to seek a better life, Wenona applied to and gained admission to several schools, including Yale University and Dartmouth College. She turned down admission to these schools to attend Arizona State University (ASU). Wenona wanted to attend an university that would teach her the skills and knowledge necessary to allow her to give back more fully to her community. She felt that ASU helped her do so. Wenona graduated summa cum laude with a B.A. degree in English. She is an alumna of Barrett, The Honors College, a prestigious residential college program at ASU that admits academically outstanding undergraduates across the nation. She is the first American Indian student to graduate from Barrett, The Honors College.
Following graduation from ASU, Wenona worked as a health and cultural resource project specialist at the Inter Tribal Council of Arizona (ITCA), a nonprofit organization comprised of 20 Indian Tribes dedicated to promoting tribal self-reliance through public policy development. At ITCA, Wenona monitored, reported, and analyzed federal health care legislation and regulations on behalf of Arizonas tribal leaders, who regularly testified before Congress on the needs of American Indians. She also helped Arizonas Indian tribes protect their sacred cultural sites located on tribal and federal lands.
Seeking to pursue greater educational opportunities, Wenona left ITCA to attend Harvard Law School, where she earned a Juris Doctorate (J.D.) degree, and Harvards John F. Kennedy School of Government, where she earned a Master in Public Policy (M.P.P) degree. Wenona focused her academic coursework on helping minority and low-income individuals, families, and communities obtain the financial services needed to purchase homes, start-up businesses, and build community facilities. Concerned about the high rates of predatory lending targeting minority communities, and the lack of financial institutions serving low-income communities, she has dedicated her educational and professional careers to helping financially-struggling families and neighborhoods rise out of poverty.
Wenona is married to Salomn F. Baldenegro, a native of Tucson, and son of Mexican-American civil-rights icon Salomn R. Baldenegro. Sals late grandfather, Roberto Cruz, was from Winkelman, Arizona, and was a lifetime union organizer in the southern portion of Arizona's Congressional District 1.
Why am I running?
I am running for the U.S. House of Representative seat in Arizona's Congressional District 1 because Arizona constituents need a leader who will stand up for the core values of the Democratic Party. I will stand up for middle-class families and working people; I will hold corporations accountable for their actions; and I will demand equal opportunities and rights for all. I will support policies and legislation that promotes small business development and increase their access to capital, invests in much-needed green infrastructure improvements and green jobs, protects Medicare, Medicaid, and Social Security, expands health care coverage to all individuals and reduces health care costs, increases public funding for education, and preserves the collective-bargaining rights of labor unions.
Education: Parents, teachers, students and community leaders are concerned about the recent drastic budget cuts made to the public education system in Arizona. College students are concerned about the rising costs of college. I will support increased investments in our public school systems and I will support efforts to increase access to higher education and direct federal dollars to students of all income levels.
Jobs & the Econony - 15,000 Arizona are currently seeking work in Arizona. On June 13th, the Republican-controlled state legislature turned their backs on 45,000 Arizona families by refusing to extend federally funded unemployment assistance to jobless Arizonans. I will keep the focus of Congress on creating jobs rather than on allowing corporations and wealthy Americans to keep their tax cuts. I will support efforts that promote small business development and investments in infrastructure improvements that incorporate green technology and create green jobs.
Healthcare: Working, middle-class families are concerned about rising healthcare costs and lack of healthcare coverage. I will support continued efforts to provide affordable healthcare and expanded coverage to all Arizonans.
My DFA Values
This legacy campaign is missing this information
My Campaign is People Powered!
Howard Dean once noted that we must take on the "mission of building the Democratic Party from the ground up." I am committed to carrying out this mission. I am working to build a campaign that will bring people from all walks of life together to support a campaign that will stand up for the working people of America. I will build a campaign that does not rely on PAC contributions from corporations, federal lobbyists, or special interest groups that seek to usurp the people's voice. My campaign will be built on donations from grassroot and individual donors who share and support the values that I will stand up for as this nation's first American Indian female member of Congress.