Gov. appoints John Pinto's granddaughter to fill state Senate seat

Noel Lyn Smith
Farmington Daily Times
Shannon Pinto will serve the reminder of her grandfather's term in the state Senate.

FARMINGTON — Gov. Michelle Lujan Grisham has appointed Shannon Pinto to complete the remaining term of her grandfather's seat in the state Senate, representing District 3.

Shannon Pinto was nominated by the San Juan County Commission on July 15. The move came after initial nominee, Wallace Charley, withdrew his name from consideration.

"John could not have asked for a finer or more qualified successor," Lujan Grisham said in a press release issued by her officer late in the afternoon of July 18.

"Shannon Pinto will, I am certain, represent her constituents with unfailing integrity and heart. I know her to share her grandfather's people-first values. John's legacy in this state is untouchable, and I expect Shannon will make him very proud," the governor said.

John Pinto had representing District 3, which is comprised of portions of San Juan and McKinley counties, from 1977 to his death on May 24.

Both county commissions submitted recommendations to the governor as to who should replace the late senator.

McKinley County had nominated Carol Bowman-Muskett on June 17.

The press release states Shannon Pinto is an enrolled member of the Navajo Nation and is an educator, having worked as a math teacher in the middle and high schools in Tohatchi.

Shannon Pinto said in the release that she is honored by the selection, then talked about accompanying her grandfather as he conducted business across the district.

"I miss him very much, but my heart is full with his memory, and I am glad I was able to learn from him firsthand," she said.

She added her experience as a teacher in a remote part of the state has provided her with an understanding of the unique problems facing students and schools.

In addition to addressing educational matters, she said she will fight for "common sense gun violence prevention measures" and champion for efforts that support women and their personal health care choices.

"Ultimately, I will represent my district and my constituents as my grandfather did, with all the humility and wisdom that I have," Shannon Pinto said.

Navajo Nation President Jonathan Nez congratulated Pinto in the press release.

"Gov. Lujan Grisham's appointment is in line with the wishes of the late Sen. John Pinto, who served our people with great dignity for many years," Nez said.

Noel Lyn Smith covers the Navajo Nation for The Daily Times. She can be reached at 505-564-4636 or by email at