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Senate seat passes to granddaughter of Navajo code talker

July 19, 2019

SANTA FE, N.M. (AP) — The granddaughter of the late World War II Navajo code talker and state legislator John Pinto will serve out the remainder of his term in the state Senate through 2020, New Mexico’s governor announced Thursday.

Navajo Nation member and educator Shannon Pinto was appointed by Democratic Gov. Michelle Lujan Grisham to represent a district that extends from the Four Corners to Gallup.

John Pinto died in May at the age of 94 after serving over four decades in the Legislature.

He voted this year in favor of a successful bill to expand background checks on gun sales and was a supporter of abortion rights.

In a news release, Shannon Pinto said she will fight as a senator for common sense gun violence prevention measures and be “a champion for efforts that support women and their personal health care decisions.”

New Mexico’s Democrat-controlled Senate this year voted down legislation that would rescind the state’s criminal ban on most abortion procedures. The law could be enforced if the Supreme Court were to overturn its 1973 Roe v. Wade abortion decision.

Shannon Pinto has worked as a middle and high school math teacher in the town of Tohatchi.

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