ANCA: Armenian Americans Active at the DNC

Armenian National Committee of America
888 17th St., NW, Suite 904
Washington, DC 20006
Tel: (202) 775-1918
Fax: (202) 775-5648
E-mail: [email protected]

August 5, 2004
Contact: Elizabeth S. Chouldjian
Tel: (202) 775-1918


— Strengthen Alliances with Coalition Partners

BOSTON, MA – Armenian Americans from throughout the United States
took part in the Democratic National Convention last week to
communicate Armenian American priorities, strengthen alliances, and
contribute to the success of the Kerry-Edwards ticket this
November, reported the Armenian National Committee of America

Armenian American delegates to the Convention represented states,
ranging from Colorado and Iowa to New York, Massachusetts and Rhode
Island. They were joined by local community activists from
Massachusetts, invited guests, and representatives of the Armenian
American press.

Kathryn Allikian, an Iowa alternate delegate attending a national
party convention for the first time, cited a range of domestic and
Armenian American concerns which led her to lend her support to the
Kerry-Edwards ticket. “When I first heard that the Bush
Administration had placed Armenia on the terrorist watch list after
9/11. That just floored me. All they had to do is do their
homework. I’m glad that it was taken off and that they recognized
their mistake, but it took a lot of lobbying efforts from the
Armenian community’s side to get that done.” Other Armenian
American delegates included Massachusetts State Representative
Rachel Kaprielian, ANC Rhode Island activist Ani Haroian, Armene
Brown, and Mike Najarian.

Armenian Americans were also active in the Convention through
participation in the Democratic Party’s Ethnic Caucus, which took
place on July 28th. The two-hour Caucus meeting, run by Caucus Co-
Chairman and Arab American Institute Chairman Jim Zogby, featured a
range of speakers including Kerry-Edwards campaign co-chairwoman,
former New Hampshire Governor Jean Shaheen, Connecticut
Congresswoman Rosa DeLauro, and Kerry-Edwards Ethnic Outreach
Coordinator George Kivork. In addressing the ethnic community
representatives, Rep. DeLauro explained, “You are tireless
advocates for what makes our country unique and special. It is
that diversity of background and opinion, cultural tradition and
value. That is what our country is all about. And what you all do
is help preserve the core of the American experience and the notion
that we can build a more perfect union.”

Since its inception in the early 1990’s, the Armenian American
community’s participation in the Caucus has been through the
Armenian American Democratic Leadership Council, which actively
fosters support within the Armenian American community for the
Democratic Party and national Democratic office holders, while
promoting the election of Armenian American Democrats to political
office and encouraging participation by Armenian American Democrats
at all levels of the public policy process.

State Representative Koutoujian Urges Armenian American Youth:
“Please Get Involved, We Need You.”

Massachusetts State Senator Peter Koutoujian and John Kerry for
President Ethnic Outreach Coordinator George Kivork outlined the
Senator Kerry’s strong record on Armenian American concerns
including Sen. Kerry’s twenty year record in support of Armenian
Genocide recognition efforts, and leadership in the adoption of
Freedom Support Act restrictions on U.S. aid to Azerbaijan due
their ongoing blockade of Armenia and Nagorno Karabagh.

The ANCA, in its official statement endorsing the Kerry/Edwards
ticket provided an extensive accounting of both Sen. Kerry’s and
Pres. Bush’s records on Armenian American concerns. The full text
of the endorsement may be read on the ANCA website at:

Both Koutoujian and Kivork made a general call for greater Armenian
American involvement in the political process. When asked to
provide a message to Armenian American youth considering a career
in politics, Rep. Koutoujian stated, “I would say to all the young
Armenians – ‘Please get involved, we need you.’ There are only two
State Representatives up here (Massachusetts) – myself and Rachel
Kaprielian, and that’s kind of shameful. . . We really need our
young people to rise up to positions of power and positions of
influence where we can affect change, we can affect policy issues.”

Kivork’s message was equally emphatic: “Get involved. Get
involved right now. We need Armenian Americans getting involved in
every level of campaign – whether it is city council, your local
Congressman, you school board. Just get involved, because at the
end of the day, you are the face of not just the candidate, but of
all Armenian Americans. You have a unique opportunity to represent
both your community and your candidate in a positive light. Just
get involved.”

Rep. Schiff: “We are going to take every opportunity to bring the
[Genocide Recognition] fight to the floor of the Congress

Rep. Adam Schiff (D-CA) was among the thousands of Democratic
elected officials to participate at the Convention this year. In
an interview with Horizon Armenian Television, Rep. Schiff, who
successfully spearheaded an amendment to the foreign aid bill,
which restricts the use of U.S. assistance to Turkey in lobbying
against the Genocide Resolution, outlined the next steps in
securing Congressional support for the measure.

“The amendment is part of the House Bill. It is not yet part of
the Senate Bill. We want to make sure it stays in on the
Conference Committee,” explained Rep. Schiff. “Regrettably the
House Leadership, Speaker Hastert, Tom Delay and others have
pledged to do everything they can to strip it out of the bill. So
we have a fight on our bill.” Rep. Schiff is referring to a
strongly worded statement by Speaker Hastert, Majority Leader Tom
DeLay and Majority Leader Roy Blunt, issued immediately following
the passage of the amendment, critical of the amendment and
pledging not to schedule a floor vote on the Genocide resolution,
H.Res.193. The Genocide Resolution, which was introduced by Rep.
George Radanovich (R-CA), Rep. Schiff and Congressional Armenian
Caucus Co-Chairs Frank Pallone (D-NJ) and Joe Knollenberg (R-MI),
has 111 cosponsors and was adopted unanimously by the House
Judiciary Committee in May, 2003.

Following the passage of the Schiff amendment, Representatives
Radanovich, Pallone and Schiff initiated a Congressional letter to
Speaker Hastert asking him to schedule a vote on the Genocide
Resolution. The letter has already garnered over 30 Congressional
signatories. Rep. Schiff stressed the importance of nationwide
Armenian American activism in support of the letter to send a clear
message to the House leadership. “If he [Speaker Hastert] doesn’t
hear from people throughout this country, he is going to think that
people don’t care. On the other hand, if he can hear from all of
us, if we can send thousands and thousands of faxes, he’s going to
know that there is a price to making a promise to our community and
then breaching it.”

From: Emil Lazarian | Ararat NewsPress