AAA: Armenian Caucus Membership Grows to 131

Armenian Assembly of America
122 C Street, NW, Suite 350
Washington, DC 20001
Phone: 202-393-3434
Fax: 202-638-4904
Email: [email protected]
April 29, 2004
CONTACT: Christine Kojoian
E-mail: [email protected]

Major Pan-Armenian Conference Yields Four New Members

Washington, DC – A major pan-Armenian advocacy conference in Washington
earlier this month has resulted in the addition of four new House Members to
the Congressional Caucus on Armenian Issues, bringing the total to 131

Representatives Danny Davis (D-IL), Lincoln Diaz-Balart (R-FL), Darrell Issa
(R-CA) and Candice Miller (R-MI) officially joined the Caucus, following
meetings April 20 with representatives of the Armenian Assembly of America,
Armenian General Benevolent Union (AGBU) and Eastern and Western Diocese of
the Armenian Church. The organizations each rallied their respective
constituencies for a joint conference, April 18-20, to communicate a message
of non-partisan unity to the Washington public policy community.

“We’re pleased that Representatives Davis, Diaz-Balart, Issa and Miller have
agreed to join the Armenian Caucus as a result of direct meetings with our
Conference participants,” Assembly Executive Director Ross Vartian said.
“They bring experience, enthusiasm and commitment to the Caucus and we’re
delighted they will be part of this very important body.”

“Also, we applaud the extraordinary work of our activists for helping to
increase the Caucus membership,” Vartian continued. “Their efforts are
exactly what this Conference is all about – advocating on behalf of
Armenia’s and Nagorno Karabakh’s issues from an American national interest.”

Assembly Board of Directors Vice Chair Lisa Esayian, together with Assembly
Fellow Trustee E. James Keledjian, both from the Chicago area, met with
Congressman Davis during the Washington Conference. During their nearly
hour-long meeting, the group discussed several key community concerns and
urged Davis to sign-on to the Caucus and thanked him for his support of the
Armenian Genocide resolution.

During an impromptu meeting on the Hill, Assembly Western Office Chairman
Richard Mushegain and Fellow Trustee Jim Melikian met with a staff member
for Congressman Issa. Mushegain and Melikian, joined by other activists,
spoke about the importance of Issa’s Caucus membership and expressed thanks
for his co-sponsorship of the U.S.-Armenia trade bill, H.R. 528.

Congresswoman Miller, who also supports the trade bill, was approached to
join the Caucus by Assembly Detroit Regional Council Co-Chair and Fellow
Trustee Edgar Hagopian of Michigan. Assembly Life Trustees and Florida
residents James and Marta Batmasian, for their part, encouraged
Diaz-Balart’s membership.

The Armenian Caucus has focused on strengthening the U.S.-Armenia and
U.S.-Karabakh relationships, searching for a peaceful solution to the
Karabakh conflict, ending the Turkish and Azerbaijani blockades of Armenia
and NKR and reaffirming the U.S. record on the Armenian Genocide. Most
recently, 191 Members of Congress signed a letter calling on President Bush
to properly acknowledge the Armenian Genocide in his April 24 statement.

The Armenian Assembly of America is the largest Washington-based nationwide
organization promoting public understanding and awareness of Armenian
issues. It is a 501(c)(3) tax-exempt membership organization.