Sen. Theresa Hatathlie, D-Coal Mine Canyon, accompanied by her brother, Freddie Hatathlie, is sworn into office by Chief Justice Robert Brutinel at the Arizona Senate on Jan. 10, 2022. /Photo by Jeremy Duda / Arizona Mirror
By Jeremy Duda | Arizona Mirror
Less than two hours before the 2022 legislative session began, the Senate welcomed Theresa Hatathlie as its newest member.
The Coconino County Board of Supervisors appointed Hatathlie, 58, to fill the District 7 Senate seat vacated last month by Sen. Jamescita Peshlakai, who resigned to take a job with the Biden administration at the U.S. Department of the Interior. Like Peshlakai, Hatathlie is Diné, a member of the Navajo Nation.
Arizona Supreme Court Chief Justice Robert Brutinel swore in Hatathlie at the Senate on Monday morning. Flanked by her older brother, Freddie Hatathlie, a retired master sergeant with the U.S. Army, Hatathlie took her oath on a collection of spiritually important items, including an eagle feather, a small arrowhead, corn pollen, a Navajo rug and a weaving tool.
“The concept of hard work is something that I’m no stranger to. And my mother raised me with these, weaving Navajo rugs,” Hatathlie told reporters after her swearing-in.
At the legislature, Hatathlie’s top priorities will be environmental preservation, safe drinking water, roads and transportation, public education, access to higher education and broadband internet access. She said she shares many of her predecessor’s priorities, and will seek to pass 32 bills that Peshlakai had previously sponsored.