In March, Debbie Nez-Manuel, longtime community leader and activist, was elected as the Democratic National Committee (DNC) Western Region Vice Chair. Nez-Manuel’s term begins immediately and will last for four years. The region covers 16 states and territories and includes Arizona Democrats abroad.
She was elected to the Democratic Party in January 2020, becoming its first Indigenous national committee chairperson. “We serve the Democratic party and support the Democratic administration. We do a lot of work like fundraising, strategizing and looking at data,” said Nez-Manuel.
“We look at our regions and focus on issues that are happening in those regions. We work really hard to get work done. When I did my presentation for the [vice chair] seat, I talked about the issues that are really challenging in Arizona. Maricopa County is the fourth-largest county in the United States, and it’s one of the battlegrounds. I talked about what it’s like to live in Arizona with the voter-suppression issues.”
Nez-Manuel said that the recent reauthorization of the Violence Against Women Act was a huge victory for the safety of women.
She was instrumental to the passage in the Arizona Senate and House of HB 2570, which was legislation that established a 21-member study committee on Missing and Murdered Indigenous Women and Girls.
During a virtual awards program on March 25, Nez-Manuel was recognized with the 2022 Community Impact Award from the Arizona State University School of Social Work.
With a theme of “The Time Is Right For Social Work,” the school celebrated Social Work Month by recognizing organizations that embody the values, principles and commitment to empowering individuals and families in our communities.
Nez-Manuel is a Salt River Pima-Maricopa Indian Community resident and spouse of the late Royce Manuel. In 2020, she campaigned for election to the Arizona House of Representatives to represent District 26, losing in the Democratic primary. “My social work started in Salt River. The 15 years of work I did in Salt River was the foundation of the work that I do today,” said Nez-Manuel.