April 10, 2000
For Immediate Release
Contact: Elizabeth S. Chouldjian
tel: (202) 775-1918

ANCA LAUNCHES NATIONAL QUESTIONNAIRE CAMPAIGN TO CONGRESSIONAL AND PRESIDENTIAL CANDIDATES

Washington, DC — As part of its election year voter-education campaign, the Armenian National Committee of America (ANCA) has launched a national grassroots drive to encourage congressional and presidential candidates to respond to ANCA Candidate Questionnaires by outlining their views on a broad cross-section of issues of special concern to Armenian American voters.

“We invite Armenian Americans from around the nation to download copies of these questionnaires from our website – www.anca.org – and to send them on to the candidates seeking their support,” said ANCA Executive Director Aram Hamparian. “With all the critical issues facing Armenia and Nagorno Karabagh, it is more important than ever for Armenian American voters to make informed decisions at the ballot box. This is especially true given the prospects for an extremely tight contest over control of Congress and the pivotal role that the large and politically active Armenian American communities will play in the key swing states that will be needed to win the presidential election.”

As in previous election years, the ANCA is distributing questionnaires to the leading presidential candidates, the incumbents and challengers in all four hundred and thirty-five House districts, and in each of the thirty-three states holding Senate elections.

The congressional questionnaire calls upon each candidate to answer seven questions concerning their views on the Armenian Genocide; Self-Determination for Nagorno Karabagh; U.S. aid to Armenia and Nagorno Karabagh; the Section 907 restriction on U.S. aid to Azerbaijan, and; the Turkish and Azerbaijani blockades of Armenia and Karabagh. The presidential questionnaire, which includes eighteen questions, goes into more detail on these points and adds questions regarding planned presidential visitations and increasing the level of participation by Armenian Americans in the federal government.

The questionnaire drive is part of the ANCA’s election year voter education campaign designed to 1) educate Armenian Americans about the policy issues impacting Armenia, Nagorno Karabagh, and the surrounding region; 2) provide timely and reliable information on the records and views of the candidates seeking Armenian American votes, and; 3) encourage increased civic participation local, state, and national elections.

In addition to the presidential race between Vice President Al Gore (D) and Texas Governor George Bush (R), there will be elections for each seat in the House of Representatives. The thirty-three states which will elect Senators for staggered, six-year terms are: Arizona, California, Connecticut, Delaware, Florida, Hawaii, Indiana, Massachusetts, Maryland, Maine, Michigan, Minnesota, Missouri, Mississippi, Montana, North Dakota, Nebraska, New Jersey, New Mexico, Nevada, New York, Ohio, Pennsylvania, Rhode Island, Tennessee, Texas, Utah, Virginia, Vermont, Washington, Wisconsin, West Virginia, and Wyoming.

Among the key Senate races for the Armenian American community will be the Michigan contest, in which Spencer Abraham (R-MI), who led the successful defense of Section 907 on the Senate floor last June, is up for reelection. The Michigan campaign is regularly cited as among the most competitive in the nation.

A hotly contested Senate campaign is also expected in New York between New York City Mayor Rudy Guliani (R), who has hosted April 24th Armenian Genocide observances, and First Lady Hillary Rodham Clinton (D), who has yet to voice her views on issues of concern to New York’s Armenian voters.

In New Jersey, the race is heating up to replace Frank Lautenberg, who, until last June when he voted against Section 907, was a strong supporter of Armenian American issues. Former Governor Jim Florio, who has supported Armenian issues since his days in the U.S. House, and businessman Jon Corzine are competing for the Democratic nomination. The winner will face the Republican nominee, most likely U.S. Representative Bob Franks, who has consistently advocated Armenian American issues.

In Pennsylvania, Senator Rick Santorum (R-PA) will face a strong challenge from Ron Klink, a Greek American member of the U.S. House. Both have supported issues of concern to Armenian American voters. Similarly, in Virginia, Armenian Americans will have a choice between Senator Chuck Robb and challenger, former Governor George Allen, both of whom have supported Armenian American issues. In Rhode Island, former Warwick mayor Lincoln Chafee (R) – the son of the late Senator John Chaffee – will face U.S. Representative Robert Weygand (D-RI), who has consistently supported Armenian American issues.

Senator Robert Byrd (D-WV), a leading opponent of Armenian American issues, will face a relatively easy reelection. The same holds true for long-time friends of the Armenian community, Ted Kennedy (D-MA), Paul Sarbanes, Dianne Feinstein (D-CA), and Joseph Biden (D-DE), the ranking Democrat on the Foreign Relations Committee. An uneventful reelection is also expected for Sen. Joe Lieberman, who – despite the vocal protests of Connecticut’s Armenian community – voted last year against Section 907 and in 1990 against the Armenian Genocide resolution.

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