National Indian Gaming Association Names Battin

“Legislator of the Year 2007”

Senator Jim Battin (La Quinta) was named “Legislator of the Year 2007” by the National Indian Gaming Association (NIGA) for his leadership over the years on issues pertaining to tribal sovereignty and gaming. The award was presented at NIGA’s 17th Annual Meeting and “Indian Gaming ‘08” tradeshow that was held in San Diego, CA last week.

“Jim Battin has been one of the true champions for tribal sovereignty for his entire legislative career”, said Ernie Stevens, National Chairman of NIGA. “We will be hard pressed to find another warrior like him, with his insight, knowledge and passion.”

This is the second time NIGA has honored Battin with an award. In 2002, Battin received the first ever NIGA “Leadership Award”. NIGA specified then that it was for Battin’s “meritorious service to Indian Country”.

“I am deeply honored by NIGA’s recognition. I have been privileged to count among my constituents several tribes over the years. I have felt from the very beginning that it was my responsibility to understand their issues, and help educate the rest of the legislature on how to navigate with respect the weighty issues of tribal sovereignty, and how it pertains to California. Gaming has certainly been a centerpiece of the debate, but always with the goal of self-sufficiency and economic opportunity for the tribes.” Battin stated. “Their success has led to diversification, and great economic growth for them and the communities they reside in. I thank NIGA for this wonderful honor, and look forward to continuing my work on tribal issues for years to come”.

Battin’s district has included the lands of numerous Indian tribes and he has been in the forefront on California’s Indian Gaming issues. The son of a Federal Judge, Battin grew up in Montana where tribal sovereignty issues were part of the dinner table conversation in his family. Battin’s longtime views on sovereign rights surprised many tribes when Battin was first elected in 1994, a time before such views were as commonplace in the Legislature as they are now.

The National Indian Gaming Association (NIGA), established in 1985, is a non-profit organization of 168 Indian Nations with other non-voting associate members representing organizations, tribes and businesses engaged in tribal gaming enterprises from around the country. The common commitment and purpose of NIGA is to advance the lives of Indian peoples economically, socially and politically. NIGA operates as a clearinghouse and educational, legislative and public policy resource for tribes, policymakers and the public on Indian gaming issues and tribal community development. (NIGA information courtesy of their website at ).