My name is Shawn Begay, I am originally from Fruitland, NM. I was born and raised in northwestern New Mexico, but have lived over half my life in Utah. However, I consider myself a Utahn at this point. I have lived in San Juan County, UT now for 10+ years, I enjoy the wide open spaces that southeastern Utah has to offer. I am currently employed with Utah Navajo Health System as their director of Public Health.
My career with UNHS began in 2013 when I was hired as the clinic manager over the Monument Valley and Navajo Mountain health centers. This was a great learning experience and the ability for me to give back to the people. The last four years have been devoted to Public Health efforts on the Utah portion of the Navajo Nation. The pandemic has hit the area hard. Public Health and other departments within UNHS have responded directly to the situation.
I have resided in Blanding now for five plus years and really enjoy the atmosphere along with the sense of community the town offers. Everyone is so welcoming and will go out of their way to help one another, which is something very unique about Blanding. The community celebrations are ones to remember. Who knew that Blanding, UT would have such a spectacular Fourth of July celebration?
The question was posed to me why I would run for public office. When the special election was held with a vacancy on the city council, which was brought to my attention. Honestly I did not think too much about it, but as the day progressed I thought about representation of the city. On the city council there is no diversity. This is something I felt like I could add. My initial thought was to bring representation to the Native American population within Blanding city limits. How often are their voices heard at city council meetings? I did not have a good answer for this so I threw my name in the race. I was honestly surprised when the decision with the special election came down to a coin flip between me and the other candidate. Either way I felt like Blanding was gaining a great individual who would have the city’s needs in mind.
I was encouraged to run again in the general election. After some reflection I decided that my stance has not changed. We need to diversify the representation on the city council. I hold a bachelor’s degree in Public Health from Brigham Young University along with an MPA from the University of Utah.