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Members of the Coconino County Board of Supervisors (Board) and long-serving staff members took time to remember and recognize former member of the Board, Teofilo “Tio” A. Tachias upon hearing news of his passing earlier this month.
First elected in 1965, Tachias was the first Latino in Coconino County to win a major election and the first to serve on the Board of Supervisors. In his 24 years of service on the Board, he oversaw the expansion of County facilities and services, including the growth from three-district to five-district representation in County government. Tachias left office in 1989 to pursue other interests.
Over the years, he won numerous awards and recognitions, including the César Chávez Diversity Award in 2018 for his “outstanding community leadership and diversity.” He also served on the national Board of Directors for the Public Broadcasting Service, became a founding member of the Coordinating Council on Mexican American Affairs, secured a seat on the Governor’s Advisory Board on Economic Planning and Development, and was appointed to the Arizona Board of Regents eventually serving as that body’s President.
“As the first Latino elected in Coconino County, Tio was truly an inspiration to those of us who enter public service to better connect our communities to local government,” commented Vice-Chair and Supervisor for District 2, Jeronimo Vasquez. “Myself, and my predecessor Liz Archuleta, wouldn’t be in the positions we are today without leaders like Tio.”
Tachias also worked closely with several Native Nations in Arizona, a strong advocate for tribal sovereignty and self-determination. In 2016, the Arizona State Legislature also honored him by reading into the Congressional Record a tribute, which stated in part: “[Mr. Tachias] developed personal and political relationships with Arizona Governors Castro, Babbitt, Mofford and Napolitano and is widely regarded as the best person to identify, register and turnout new voters on the Navajo Nation. His work contributed to countless victories and helped thousands of new voters exercise their right to vote…”
“Tio and his good friend and fellow advocate, Tony Gabaldon, were instrumental in building the Democratic Party in Coconino County. Tio believed in ensuring that all parts of Coconino County were heard and had a voice,” added Patrice Horstman, Chair of the Board of Supervisors and Supervisor for District 1. “As a young NAU student, his brand of advocacy and outreach inspired me and others to become involved in our community.”
“As a ‘young-one’ at the County ‘way back when’ I have many fond memories of his caring and support for all County employees,” added County Manager Steve Peru. “Tio was very involved in many aspects of our community from voting rights to higher education to expanding opportunities for the County’s diverse communities. His exemplary service to our County will be fondly remembered and he will be missed.”
A memorial service will be held on Friday, July 28, 2023, at San Francisco de Asís Catholic Parish in Flagstaff, Ariz. Services will begin at 10 a.m.