February 3, 2021 at 7:47 pm PST | by Michael K. Lavers
Gay former Ariz. lawmaker joins Biden administration
Former Arizona state Rep. Arlando Teller (Photo courtesy of Arlando Teller)

WASHINGTON — A gay Navajo man who was a member of the Arizona House of Representatives has joined the Biden administration.

Former state Rep. Arlando Teller will serve as the Transportation Department’s deputy assistant secretary for tribal affairs.

Teller was the deputy director of the Navajo Department of Transportation before his election to the Arizona House in 2018. He previously worked at two airports and the California Department of Transportation (Caltrans).

 Teller on Monday officially resigned his seat.

“Elevating indigenous nations’ by the Biden administration only invigorates and encourages me to do more,” Teller told the Los Angeles Blade on Wednesday in a text message. “Representation matters.”

Teller served in the Arizona Legislature with five other openly gay men. He spoke with the Blade on the same day Vice President Harris swore in Transportation Secretary Pete Buttigieg, who is the first out person the U.S. Senate has confirmed to a Cabinet-level position.  

“Excited for the newest deputy assistant secretary at (U.S. Department of Transportation), the one and only Mr. Arlando Teller,” tweeted Arizona state Rep. Daniel Hernández, Jr., on Tuesday.

Teller last November tested positive for the coronavirus and spent several weeks in the hospital in Chinle, his hometown in northeastern Arizona that is in the Navajo Nation. Teller’s mother also contracted the disease and died in December at the same hospital to which he was admitted.

Teller for the time-being will work remotely from Arizona as he recovers from the coronavirus.

Michael K. Lavers is the international news editor of the Los Angeles Blade. Follow Michael

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