KNAU and Arizona News
12:33 am
Thu August 21, 2008

1st Congressional District Profiles: Howard Shanker Touts Legal Track Record

Flagstaff, AZ – First-time congressional candidate Howard Shanker is emphasizing alternative energy, universal health care, and the environment in his run for the Arizona 1st Congressional District seat.

Shanker, a high-profile lawyer in northern Arizona, said he is running for the seat because there is only so much he can do as a lawyer, and because he says he's outraged at what he's seen in Washington.

"I think we've taken the catchphrase culture of corruption to new lows. We seem to have a government that bases all its policies on the short-term economic gain of a handful of people. Greed should not be a motivating factor in making the kind of decisions that need to be made in this country," Shanker said.

Shanker is also concerned about the role money plays in campaigns. In the last quarter he received over 1,000 contributions averaging $20. Shanker said that is enough money to get his message out.

"As a nation we elect good fundraisers, instead of leaders and people with vision. Then we sit around and complain that our elected officials pander to people with money," Shanker said.

Shanker recalled speaking to the state's Democratic Party chair when he first decided to run for office.

"I was appalled. He didn't ask me what my philosophies or positions were. All he said to me was how much money can you raise," Shanker said.

Shanker has been endorsed by some high-profile Democrats, including Arizona Congressman Raul Grijalva.

Shanker's biggest base of support may be the Navajo Nation. He has been endorsed by a majority of Navajo council delegates, and the Navajo Medicine Men's Association, which had never before endorsed a political candidate. Here's Shanker at a recent candidates' forum in Chinle.

"There are three priorities for me here on the Nation: make sure the vets get taken care of; make sure the seniors get what they deserve; make sure the youth get proper education and proper service," Shanker said at a recent candidates forum in Chinle.

Shanker said his overall priority is fighting injustice wherever he finds it, whether it's on the Navajo Nation, or anywhere else in the district.