Posted by AzBlueMeanie:
The White Mountain Independent has a good profile piece on Wenona Benally Baldenegro, candidate for Congress in CD 1. Baldenegro challenges Kirkpatrick – White Mountain Independent:
Wenona Benally Baldenegro… [a] Flagstaff attorney, originally from Kayenta on the Navajo reservation, is touring the district in preparation for her primary challenge to former Rep. Ann Kirkpatrick.
She is attempting to be at once the first American Indian woman elected to Congress from Arizona, and the first American Indian woman ever to serve in Congress.
Baldenegro started at Northland Pioneer College, and then attended ASU through Barrett, the Honors College. According to their literature, Barrett, The Honors College at Arizona State University is a selective, residential college that recruits academically outstanding undergraduates across the nation. Named “Best Honors College” in the nation, this residential community has more National Merit Scholars than MIT, Duke, Brown, Stanford or the University of California-Berkeley, and Barrett students benefit from a $12 million endowment used exclusively to support honors students and their projects.
She graduated cum laude with a degree in English Literature. From there she went to work for Arizona’s Inner Tribal Council, which represents 20 of the 21 tribes in the state. Ironically, the Navajo are the hold-out tribe.
“There are so many Navajo,” she said, “that they would dominate the organization if they joined.”
After two years at the Council, she was accepted at Harvard Law. After receiving her J.D., and knowing she would want to work in the public sector, she stayed for a Masters in Public Policy.
However, she went into private practice with Hobbs, Straus, Dean and Walker in Washington, D. C., a firm that specializes in Indian affairs.
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After a couple years, she returned to Arizona, where she acquired her masters in law (LL.M.). She taught while studying.
“This Congress is attempting to balance the budget on the backs of working people,” she said of her candidacy, “and this is unacceptable.
“As Congresswoman for CD-1 I will work hard to create job and educational opportunities.”
She told The Independent to promote jobs she would ensure that college is affordable, support small and local businesses by saving federal programs through the Small Business Administration and the recovery act. She said she feels Recovery Act funds just haven’t had a chance to trickle down to the local level yet.
She would also work hard to protect the Obama Health Care act[.]
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Baldenegro has a quick solution to the budget crisis. “The thing we could do right now that would have the most impact would be to roll back the Bush tax cuts,” she told The Independent[.]