Letter to the editor: Navajo Nation needs leaders who are uniters not dividers

To the editor:

We were wrong, to say the least, regarding State Senator Carlyle Begay.

Some of those who supported his initial appointment to replace former State Senator Jack Jackson Jr., (despite his inexperience), thought that with his eagerness he acquire the skills and would experience the Navajo Nation and other Indian tribes need to unite and become stronger politically (this has not happened).

One can only wish that Rep. Albert Hale had gone forward with his lawsuit and challenged Sen. Begay's residency when he changed his residency from Chandler to Ganado to qualify for the appointment to replace Jack Jackson Jr.

Upon hearing that Sen. Begay has publically taken sides in the Republican's 1st district Congressional district primary by endorsing someone who is unknown to Navajo and Indian voters, Pinal County Sheriff Paul Babeu, was chosen over other Republican candidates, including Navajo Republican candidate Shawn Reed, demonstrates how wrong we were.

In immediately endorsing Sheriff Paul Babeu, he rejected the very principals of his campaign that initially attracted our support - this proves he is a divider, not a uniter.

It is disappointing to see Sen. Begay takes sides without evaluating the experience and records of Sheriff Babeu and Shawn Reed objectively. Now that we know how he makes his decisions are based on the Republican state party views, not the candidates. He has proven once again he listens more to people like Sens. John McCain, Jeff Flake and U.S. Rep. Paul Gossar, who are well-known for their anti- Navajo stance than listening to Navajo and other Indian voters and supporters of tribal issues.

Most Navajo voters I talk to say given the present political climate locally and nationally, we need leaders who will unite and not divide. Based on his recent behavior, Sen. Begay no doubt is backing Trump!

If nothing else, Sen. Begay's conduct will serve to unite Navajo and Indian voters behind such candidates as Jamescita Peshlakai for state senate, Wenona Benally and Eric Descheenie for state legislature, Ann Kirkpatrick over John McCain and Miguel Olivas for Congressional District 1 rather than Paul Babeu.

Wallace Hanley

Window Rock, Arizona

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