John Pinto, long serving Navajo lawmaker in New Mexico, dies

National Politics

John Pinto, long serving Navajo lawmaker in New Mexico, dies

The Associated Press

May 24, 2019 11:47 AM

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ALBUQUERQUE, N.M.

John Pinto, a New Mexico lawmaker and one of the nation’s longest serving Native American elected official, has died. He was 94.

State Senate colleague Michael Padilla on Friday confirmed Pinto’s death in Gallup.

Pinto was a World War II-era Marine who trained as a Navajo Code Talker and served in the New Mexico State Senate for more than four decades as a Democrat. He represented an impoverished district in the Four Corners area.

Born in Lupton, Arizona, on the Navajo Nation to a family of sheep herders, Pinto didn’t start formal schooling until age 12. He was placed in Native American board school where he ran away several times.

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Pinto earned a master’s degree in elementary education and was elected to the New Mexico Senate in 1976.

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