American Indian Candidates: John Oceguera

( – promoted by oke)

For thousands of years the Agai-Dicutta Numu (Trout Eaters People) band of the Northern Paiute had lived within the Great Basin area of what is now the state of Nevada. Traditionally, the Paiute was peaceful people who ruled over their own affairs. They had little need for chiefs. The people governed themselves through a combination of consensus and a cultural norm of service.

When the United States acquired Nevada from Mexico following a brief war, things began to change for the Indian nations within the region. The United States negotiated treaties and appointed chiefs. Then, in 1924, Indians acquired citizenship and the right to vote. Voting, however, is only part of their participation in politics: getting tribal candidates elected to state offices in also important. One of these candidates is John Oceguara, an enrolled member of the Walker River Paiute Tribe.  

Political Background:

In 2000, John Oceguera was elected to the Nevada State Legislature as Assemblyman for District 16 in Southeast Las Vegas. The voters in District 16 have returned John to office every two years since that time.

Oceguera served on four legislative committees in his freshman year: Commerce and Labor, Constitutional Amendments, Judiciary, and Transportation.

By 2003, Oceguera was named Assistant Majority Leader and Vice-Chair of the Assembly Judiciary Committee. He also served on both the Commerce and Labor Committee and the Transportation Committee. During the period between legislative sessions, he served on the Legislative Subcommittee to Study the Death Penalty and Related DNA Testing. Additionally, he was one of a select number of young legislators appointed to a Toll Fellowship, a bipartisan organization which trains new legislators nationwide.

In the 2005 session of the Nevada Legislature, he continued as Assistant Majority Leader, chaired the Transportation Committee, served as vice chair of the Committee on Commerce and Labor, and continued to serve on the Judiciary Committee.

Following that session, Oceguera chaired interim committees to review regulations and study legislative security. He was vice chair of the Legislative Commission, and continues to hold that position. Trusted with additional leadership duties, John served in 2005 and 2006 on the Committee to Consult With the Director and the Legislative Counsel Bureau Biennial Budget Review Committee.

At the beginning of the 2007 legislature, Oceguera became Assembly Majority Leader and took over the reins as chair of the Committee on Commerce and Labor. He continued working on the Judiciary Committee.

In Carson City, Oceguera has a reputation for being thoroughly informed on the issues, ready to ask the tough questions and willing to go the extra mile for the district he represents. Back in his district, he is known for keeping the lines of communication open to the residents and businesses there. He takes a grass roots approach to both campaigning and representation, often going door-to-door, meeting with the voters and hearing their concerns first-hand.

Professional Background:

John Oceguera is a firefighter who has worked his way through the ranks of the North Las Vegas Fire Department. He was appointed as Assistant Fire Chief in 2008.

With regard to higher education, John Oceguera has a  B.S. in Fire Administration from Cogswell College (1995) and a  Masters in Public Administration from UNLV (1998). He was one of the first to enter the new William S. Boyd School of Law at UNLV and, in 2003 received his Juris Doctorate in law.

Current status:

At the present time, John Oceguera is on track to become the next speaker of the house. He is being challenged by a republican and needs our support. He has been endorsed by INDN’s list.

John OcegueraRepresentative John Oceguera, an enrolled member of the Walker River Paiute Tribe, has spent his life serving the community as a firefighter and member of the IAFF. In 2008, he was named Assistant Fire Chief of the North Las Vegas Fire Department. In the state legislature John has been an effective leader and most political insiders believe he is on track to be the next Speaker of the House.

John is being challenged for reelection by a Republican for the Nevada State House of Representatives in District 16.


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