Shirley's campaign blasts term limit proposal

By Shondiin Silversmith
Navajo Times

WINDOW ROCK, May 15, 2014

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The Navajo Nation Presidential election season is in full swing — not the time to introduce a piece of legislation on term limits, according to one candidate.

Dr. Joe Shirley Jr's campaign office sent out a press release on May 6 stating that Navajo Nation Council Delegate Russell Begaye, 2014 presidential candidate, is using his position on the Council to eliminate Shirley from the race.

What they are referring to is how Begay is sponsoring legislation 0107-14 a referendum on amendments to Title 2 Navajo Nation Code 1002(D), term limits for the Navajo Nation President.

The legislation proposed by Begay states that "no person shall be elected to the office of the President for more than two terms; terms in the office of President need not be consecutive."

"The big reason is the abuse of power and also the need to have term limits," Begaye said on why he wanted to sponsor the legislation.

Begaye said the concept of the legislation came from his discussion with a Navajo Medicine man and how he explained that "with each generation there needs to be a new Nahat'á. That is the way he described term limits, the concept behind it.

"It has the cultural teachings because you give opportunities to new generations to take on leadership roles and term limits allow new ideas and new direction to be expressed, debated and implemented," Begaye added.

The current Navajo Nation Code for the Office of the Navajo Nation President and Vice President term is that the president shall be elected for a term of four years and they shall serve no more than two terms.

But the provision of the code has been interpreted by the Navajo Nation Supreme Court to mean consecutive terms, not a two-term limit in a lifetime.

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