[Editor:  This is much more important than one might think.  The Navajo are among the poorest in Arizona even while they live on some of the most beautiful land in the state.  But it is rugged land with few of the resources required to grow healthy, prosperous communities.  Watch the video of Sen. Begay's announcement.  We've been looking for statesmen to run government.  Begay's words come very close, it not hitting it on the head, to being such a statesman.]

Carlyle Begay, a Democrat who was often viewed as the state Senate's 18th Republican, officially joined the GOP Monday.

The announcement, attended by a bevy of Republican elected officials, surprised no one and makes no substantive change to the power dynamics in the Arizona Legislature.

But it does give the GOP bragging rights and a chance to make a run at winning over Native American voters in next year's elections.

Begay, a Navajo from Ganado, told The Arizona Republic that the Republican Party better reflects the values of self-determination and self-empowerment that he holds and wants to emphasize to his district, which includes the Navajo and Hopi reservations.

Besides, he said, he was increasingly isolated within the Democratic caucus after he crossed party lines and voted for the current-year budget. His vote provided the crucial 16th vote needed to pass in the 30-member Senate.

"I want to help the Republican Party build a bridge with those who need and want a chance with those who can provide that chance," Begay told reporters at a packed news conference attended by U.S. senators John McCain and Jeff Flake, GOP Chairman Robert Graham, Senate President Andy Biggs and more than half of the GOP Senate caucus.  His main job, Begay said, is to provide a voice for tribal communities and rural areas "but not through the lens of a political ideology." He said he votes based on what he thinks is best for his constituents, leaving aside party labels.

"I think that's what we're supposed to do," he said.

However, he turned to the Republican Party instead of registering as an independent because he wants to reinforce what he says is the GOP message of self-determination — the very thing tribes are trying to emphasize to the state and federal governments.

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Replies to This Discussion

I Think this is GREAT!!!   Senator Begay  has attended some Transfer of Public Lands meetings and Study Committee Hearings, and when I talked to him, he is "seeming" to be in favor of the Native Americans joining our cause and getting the Tribes out from under the thumb of the Feds.  Yea !!!

Out from the darkness and into the Light.

Wonderful news.  Maybe now many more Native Americans will hear more truth and hopefully many more will register to vote.

I was impressed with him I was raised in Winslow and my mother was a public health service nurse. She was talking about how they were building standard housing on the reservation I said they would never change.I now know she was right.She truly cared for the native people. I later found out while working in Bagdad AZ with the Navajo tradesman that they still tell stories about her today. I have asked the Governor to change the name of Little Squaw Creek to Code Talker Creek to thank the Navajos for the sacrifice the all made for this nation. 





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