ANC-WR To Honor US Senator Robert Menendez At 2007 Annual Banquet

03.08.2007 11:20

The Armenian National Committee-Western Region will be honoring Senator
Robert Menendez with its highest honor, the prestigious ANC-WR Man
of the Year Award this fall. The honor will be bestowed upon Senator
Menendez at the organization’s annual banquet on September 30, 2007
in Los Angeles, California.

On occasion, an elected official in Washington, DC rises so far above
the fray and serves the interests of justice, liberty and freedom,
that it makes all Americans proud beyond belief. United States Senator
Robert Menendez of New Jersey, who has placed a legislative hold on
genocide denier Richard Hoagland’s nomination to serve as America’s
next Ambassador to Armenia, is just such a remarkable elected official.

"We are proud to be honoring Senator Menendez," commented ANC-WR
Executive Director Andrew Kzirian. "The Senator from New Jersey acted
with distinction and guts when he placed a hold on Richard Hoagland’s
nomination. Preventing a denier of genocide from serving as Ambassador
to Armenia is sound public policy. Because sending a genocide denier
to Yerevan would have represented a setback to US-Armenia relations,
and a retreat from our nation’s historic commitment to genocide
prevention worldwide," Kzirian emphasized.

In a statement released when he placed the hold on Richard Hoagland
last year, Senator Menendez said that, "the State Department and
the Bush administration are just flat-out wrong in their refusal to
recognize the Armenian Genocide. It is well past time for American
diplomacy to drop the euphemisms, the wink-wink, nod-nod brand of
foreign policy that overlooks heinous atrocities committed around the
world. If there is any sincerity behind the Bush administration’s
rhetoric about ‘liberty on the march’ – if ‘never again’ is to be
more than a bumper sticker slogan – then American diplomacy should
consist of nothing less than unvarnished honesty with our friends
and enemies alike. And we must call genocide by its name."

For well over a decade, Robert Menendez has been a good friend of the
Armenian-American community in the State of New Jersey. From ensuring
that the United States honestly addresses the issue of the Armenian
Genocide to advocating the right of self-determination for the people
of Nagorno-Karabakh, Senator Menendez has championed truth, justice,
and the principles of freedom so cherished by the Armenian American
community. As a mark of his longstanding respect on Armenian issues,
in 2005 then-Congressman Menendez joined hundreds of Armenian Americans
at a reception in New Jersey honoring His Holiness Aram I, Catholicos
of the Great House of Cilicia.

During the 109th Congress [2005-2006], Senator Menendez received
nationwide attention after making history by placing a hold on the
appointment of Ambassador designate to the Republic of Armenia, Richard
Hoagland. The Armenian American community has overwhelmingly expressed
its concern regarding Hoagland’s testimony before the Senate Foreign
Relations Committee in which he used language denying the Armenian
Genocide qualified as such. Throughout 2006, the Armenian National
Committee of America led a nationwide campaign to call attention to
this matter and demand that the State Department remove the Hoagland
nomination, offer a complete explanation surrounding the controversial
firing of former Ambassador John Marshall Evans, and clarify the
Turkish Government’s influence in the removal of Ambassador Evans.

When the new 110th Congress began in January 2007, the Bush
Administration once again nominated Hoagland to serve as US Ambassador
to Armenia without addressing any of the concerns outlined by the
ANCA and the Armenian American community. Once again, Senator Menendez
placed a hold on the nomination.

When asked about his motivation for doing so, Senator Menendez stated,
"I believe that the United States, Armenia, and all who are committed
to human rights should support an ambassador to Armenia who recognizes
the genocide that took place there more than 90 years ago."

In February of 2007, the Armenian National Committee of New Jersey
honored Senator Menendez at a ceremony hosted in Rockleigh, New
Jersey. More than two hundred Armenian National Committee of New Jersey
supporters and friends were present for the occasion during which the
Senator was granted the ANCA-Eastern Region Man of the Year award. The
program was attended by many Armenian American leaders from the New
York metropolitan area, various Church leaders, and Vahan Hovhannisyan,
Deputy Speaker of the Republic of Armenia’s Parliament.

Robert Menendez grew up the son of immigrants in Union City,
New Jersey. He has served as a school board member, a mayor and
a state legislator. In 1992, he was elected to the United States
House of Representatives. He became the highest-ranking Hispanic in
Congressional history and the third-highest ranking Democrat in the
House of Representatives when his colleagues elected him the Chairman
of the House Democratic Caucus in 2002.

He was appointed to the United States Senate by New Jersey Governor Jon
Corzine and sworn in to the Senate on January 18, 2006. In November of
that year, he was elected by the people of New Jersey to serve a full
six-year term as United States Senator. He currently serves on the
Senate Committees on Banking, Housing and Urban Affairs; Energy and
Natural Resources; Budget; and Foreign Relations. Senator Menendez is
also the Chairman of the Subcommittee on International Development and
Foreign Assistance, Economic Affairs, and International Environmental