Joe Shirley, Jr.
|Joe Shirley Jr.|
|6th President of the Navajo Nation|
January 14, 2003 – January 11, 2011
|Vice President||Ben Shelly (2007-2011)
Frank Dayish, Jr. (2003-2007)
|Preceded by||Kelsey A. Begaye|
|Succeeded by||Ben Shelly|
December 4, 1947 |
|Nationality|| Navajo Nation and
|Occupation||Apache County Commissioner|
Joe Shirley, Jr. (born December 4, 1947) is an American, and Navajo politician, and academic who was elected President of the Navajo Nation in November 2002 and served until January 2011. He is from Chinle, Arizona, and is Tódích'íi'nii clan, born for Tábaahá clan.
Education and Early Life
Joe Shirley, Jr. was born in Chile, Navajo Nation. He is married to Vikki Shirley and the couple have three sons and three daughters. Shirley graduated from Chinle High School in 1966. He holds a Masters of Social Work (MSW) from Arizona State University, and a BS from Abilene Christian University, and an associate of Art degree from Magic Valley Christian College - Albion,Idaho. In 2005, Northern Arizona University bestowed upon Shirley an Honorary Doctorate of Humane Letters, for his continued service to the community.
Shirley began his career as Executive Director for the Navajo Division of Social Services from 1983 to 1984. His political career began in Arizona county politics in 1984 when he was elected Apache Country District 1 Supervisor. He served for eighteen years in that capacity.
Shirley served on the Navajo Nation Council from 1986 to 1999. While at the Council, he was the Chairman of the Labor and Manpower Committee Advisory Committee from 1987 to 1991, Chairman of the Tax Commission from 1991 to 1995, Chairman of the Ethics and Rules Committee from 1995 to 1998. He was also a member of the Intergovernmental Relations Committee.
After completing his second term as Navajo President, he was re-elected Apache County Supervisor for a third term.
In 2002, Joe Shirley, with Frank Dayish as his running mate, ran for the Presidency of the Navajo Nation and defeated incumbent President Kelsey Begaye 31,406 votes to 23,964 cast for Begaye. He was inaugurated as the President of the Navajo Nation on January 14, 2003 at Window Rock.
In 2006, Shirley selected Thoreau, New Mexico, Council delegate Ben Shelly as his vice presidential running mate during his second bid for Navajo Executive Office. On election day, Shirley became the first Navajo to be re-elected to the office of Navajo President since the office was reformed from a Chairmanship to Presidency. Former New Mexico State Representative Lynda Lovejoy was his opponent during the 2006 Navajo Nation Election. By a small majority of the popular vote, Joe Shirley and Ben Shelly were elected. They were inaugurated in January 2007.
In 2008, Shirley announced his endorsement of Senator Hillary Rodham Clinton for president of the United States. On June 14 of the same year, Shirley was awarded the Barry Goldwater Human Rights Corporate Award, in recognition of support of Navajo LGBT rights after the veto of the 2005 Dine' Marriage Act. In 2009, President Barack Obama made Shirley a member of the Federal Department of Homeland Security's Advisory Council. On December 11, 2009, Navajo voters voted to reduce the Navajo Nation Tribal Council from 88 to 27 members, reform of which was seen as a substantial win for Shirley's administration's reform advocacy. In 2010, Shirley's administration was investigated for impropriety. Controversy around Desert Rock Coal Energy Plant also circulated around the Shirley Administration. In February 2014, charges were dismissed against Shirley's alleged role in discretionary spending irregularities.
2014 Presidential Election
In 2014, Shirley stood as a presidential candidate with Dineh Benally as his vice president. In the primary election, Shirley garnered 10,910 votes, followed by Chis Deschene with 9,374 (the Navajo Court would later removed Deschene from the election). The Navajo Supreme Court postponed the 2014 General Election, to be held on an as yet to be determined date.
- "Navajo inauguration is all-day event". Indianz.com. 2003-01-08. Retrieved 2012-07-09.[dead link]
- "Joe Shirley elected Navajo Nation President"
Kelsey A. Begaye
|President of the Navajo Nation