Begay: 'Don't force me into a box'

By Cindy Yurth
Tséyi' Bureau

WINDOW ROCK, June 5, 2014

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Arizona State Sen. Carlyle Begay says he's not a Republican plant – just a Democrat who doesn't like to be "forced into a box."

The Black Mesa area native took some heat last year when he was appointed to fill the unexpired term of Sen. Jack C. Jackson Jr. with fellow Diné state Rep. Albert Hale accusing him of not living in his district.

The courts sided with Begay in that battle, but more recently, his rival in the upcoming Democratic primary, state Rep. Jamescita Peshlakai, called him too conservative for rural, heavily tribal District 7.

"I am a Democrat," Begay stated in an interview at the Navajo Times office last week. "If you look at my voting record, you will see that very clearly."

That said, Begay admits he has been known to "reach across the aisle."

"Politics is about numbers and votes," he said. "In a state where Democrats are a small minority, you have to build some bridges."

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