The newest Republican on the Arizona political scene is state Senator Carlyle Begay, (LD7) a Democrat who officially switched affiliations and joined the GOP Monday. Begay, a Navajo from Ganado represents a rural district which encompasses Navajo and Hopi reservations. Gov. Doug Ducey welcomed Sen. Begay with this statement.
In announcing his decision, Begay released this powerful explanatory video, “Change Must Happen Now,” in which he states the Republican Party is the party of progress and opportunity. Troubled by the failing education system, high dropout rates, crumbling infrastructure and staggeringly high unemployment rates in Arizona’s tribal communities, Begay says he’s found it is the Republican Party which has been willing to work with him to address these issues of concern.
Shawn Redd, a Republican businessman, is running for the U.S. House of Representatives in Arizona’s massive First Congressional District. Redd is also a member of the Navajo Nation making him somewhat of an anomaly in his community, where tribal members lean Democrat.
Other announced GOP CD1 candidates include Pinal County Sheriff Paul Babeu, former Arizona Secretary of State Ken Bennett, AZ House Speaker David Gowan, and rancher/businessman Gary Kiehne.
Unlike on-again, off-again Democrat U.S. Rep. Ann Kirkpatrick — elected in 2008, losing in 2010 and reelected in 2012 — now stepping down from the House seat to run for the senate, Shawn Redd doesn’t have to learn to speak the Navajo language. He describes himself as both a conservative traditionalist and a realist who examines the issues and keeps an open mind when developing workable solutions. Shawn Redd’s website can be viewed here.