ANC Of Southern Illinois Meets With Congressman Shimkus

17.07.2008 11:26

Collinsville, IL- The Armenian National Committee of Southern Illinois
(ANC-S IL) met with Congressmen John Shimkus (R-IL-19) late last month
to discuss his reversal of his support of H. Res 106, the Armenian
Genocide Resolution as well as acquaint him with community activists
in the area.

ANC-S IL Chairman Steve Hagopian along with activists Andrew Hagopian,
Stephen Hagopian, and Melanie Haroian were all in attendance during
the meeting to discuss their disappointment of the Congressman’s
withdrawal of the resolution.

On October 4, 2007, only days prior to H. Res 106 being voted
on in the House Foreign Affairs Committee, Shimkus withdrew his
sponsorship from the Armenian Genocide Resolution. Following his
withdrawal Shimkus was appointed to serve as a United States delegate
to the NATO Parliamentary Assembly, in which he serves as the ranking
Republican of the delegation and serves on the NATO-PA Defense Security
Committee. Later Shimkus’ staff told activists that the Congressman was
asked to withdraw from the legislation prior to joining the assembly.

During the meeting the Congressman did convey to activists that he
is aware of the Armenian genocide and admits that it happens but due
to the nature of the committee he serves on, he cannot cosponsor the
legislation. Activists also discussed issues pertaining to Armenia’s
blockade and U S foreign aid. Hagopian explained to the Congressmen
the community’s disappointment in the fact that such a long time
co-sponsor so abruptly switched positions.

Following the meeting, ANC-S IL Chairman Steve Hagopian commented:
"We appreciate Congressman Shimkus’ office reaching out to us for
a meeting, however, it is upsetting that those who represent us
in Congress are being pressured to come off resolutions like H.Res
106 because of outside pressures including Turkey. We must work to
end Turkey’s gag rule so Congress is able to speak openly on this
historic issue."

Shimkus is serving his 12th year in Congress and represents the 19th
District of Illinois. He serves on the House Energy and Commerce
Committee, has gained seniority and is now the ranking Republican
on the Subcommittee on Oversight and Investigations. He also sits
on the Subcommittees on Telecommunications and the Internet, Energy
and Air Quality, and Environment and Hazardous Materials. He also is
a member of the Armenian Caucus and was endorsed by the ANCA in the
2006 general election.