Arizona Democratic State Senator Carlyle Begay announced Monday he is leaving the Democratic Party and becoming a Republican. Senator Begay is a Navajo Indian and represents an area of Arizona which encompasses the Navajo and Hopi reservations.
Begay told the Arizona Republican, “the Republican Party better reflects the values of self-determination and self-empowerment that he holds and wants to emphasize to his district.”
To announce his decision, Begay released a two-minute video entitled “Change Must Happen Now” explaining his reasoning. Citing the failing education system, high dropout rate, crumbling infrastructure and unemployment rates “as high as 80 percent” in parts of his district, Begay told constituents he’s found it is the Republican Party who has been willing to work with him to address these issues.
The charismatic Senator acknowledged switching parties will not be a popular decision with some of those he represents but, he says, “My hope is to follow the direction of my ancestors and embrace progress by helping the Republican Party as they build a bridge connecting those who need and want a chance with those who can provide that chance.”
“With an open mind and heart,” Begay concluded, “I clearly see the Republican Party as a party of progress, the party of opportunity, and moving forward — my party.”
Arizona Republican Governor Doug Ducey greeted the news gleefully. “I’m proud to welcome Senator Begay to the Republican Party. Legislative District 7 is well served by Senator Begay’s commitment to individual liberty, fiscal responsibility and personal empowerment. His service to his constituents is unwavering, and I look forward to our continued work together,” he said in a statement.