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2007/02/08

Vice Presidentwith a History


Navajo Nation vice president Ben Shelly allowed myself and one of our reporters to come and visit with him for an hour this morning. He recognized me immediately from some dealings we had several years ago. He was one of the McKinley County Commissioners and he was pushing some agendas that were not very popular with the city residents. He had a strong opponent, Harry Mendoza, on the commission that was feeding us information about their differing viewpoints and the conflict made headlines. While trying to stay impartial to the whole mess it was difficult. I tried to let my images be honest about what was happening in the meetings.

The story today was more of a feature item, he has been in office for a month now, and since he is getting settled a bit, what is he going to do, what are his priorities etc. Through most of the interview he was slouched back in his chair and talking very openly about his ideas and opinions. It was a comfortable conversation to listen to, but the photos I was getting were less than flattering. So I asked him to sit forward at the end of the interview and the image looked better. Then his assistant came over and showed him a page from notes that he had written during the interview, and that was my preferred image.

During the interview he said that there was enough talking, and it was time to do some walking. I hope that he can. There are a lot of different opinions within the tribe, and a lot of them have agendas that are not the best for the whole of the Navajo people.
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