Democratic Native American Lawmaker Switches to Republican Party

"I clearly see the Republican Party is a party of progress, a party of hope, a party of opportunity and moving forward — my party."

United States senator's John McCain and Jeff Flake welcomed Arizona state senator Carlyle Begay to the Republican Party Monday as he announced his switch.

“With an open mind and heart, I clearly see the Republican Party is a party of progress, a party of hope, a party of opportunity and moving forward — my party,” Begay said.

According to Phoenix New Times, the state lawmaker was elected as a Democrat in 2013 and represents Arizona's Legislative District 7, covering a large portion of northeastern Arizona and the Navajo and Hopi reservations.

Begay released a powerful video to announce his decision. It's titled, Change Must Happen Now. In it he says:

Today, the Republican Party is finding solutions to build a positive future for the people I represent. In the past two years, it has been the Republican Party that has worked side-by-side with me to improve education, jobs, and infrastructure. It is my commitment, and always should be, to serve the people I represent first. This includes when decisions must be made that are not popular. And this decision will not be for some.

And he is correct. The Arizona Democratic Party released a statement of no surprise saying, "you can tell a lot about a person by the company they keep." The group bemoaned Begay's occasional siding with conservatives during his tenure and stated that they "look forward to replacing him" in 2016.

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