Outlines Foreign Policy Priorities of Armenian Americans Voters

July 13, 2000

WASHINGTON, DC – The Armenian National Committee of America (ANCA), as part of its ongoing campaign to increase the impact of Armenian American voters on the 2000 elections, outlined the foreign policy priorities of the Armenian American community in testimony this month before both the Republican and Democratic national platform committees.

“We are very pleased to have had these opportunities to offer our community’s views directly to the leadership of the Democratic and Republican parties,” said ANCA Executive Director Aram Hamparian. “In our remarks to both groups we called for expanding ties between the U.S. and Armenian governments, and strengthening the enduring friendship between the American and Armenian peoples. We also outlined a number of specific steps
the U.S. government can take, in partnership with the Armenian American community, to advance these goals and help to build a secure, prosperous and democratic future for the Armenian people.”

Among the specific policy areas addressed in each of the presentations were: Armenian Genocide commemoration; Nagorno Karabagh’s right to self-determination within secure borders; increased foreign aid to Armenia and Nagorno Karabagh; Section 907 restrictions on direct U.S. aid to the government of Azerbaijan, and; U.S. arms sales and transfers to Turkey.

Testimony to RNC Welcomes George W. Bush’s Pledge to Recognize Armenian Genocide

The ANCA’s testimony to the Republican National Committee was presented by John O. Vartan, an Armenian community leader and a prominent businessman and civic figure from Harrisburg, Pennsylvania. As a long-time resident of Pennsylvania, Vartan opened his remarks by joining with the Pennsylvania chapter of the Armenian National Committee and with all the Armenian American citizens of the state in welcoming this year’s Republican convention to Philadelphia.

Vartan noted in his remarks that “Armenian Americans have long valued the Republican Party’s historic role as a defender of freedom around the world and traditional values here at home.” He added that, as a life-long Republican, he looked forward to “the success of this gathering in building on our Party’s great progress in reaching out to our nation’s diverse and vibrant ethnic communities.” He pointed out that the Republican Presidential candidate, George Bush, has spoken forcefully in “condemning the genocidal campaign committed against the Armenian people” and pledged to ensure the proper commemoration of this crime against humanity. “We look to the Republican Party to join with its Presidential nominee in adopting a principled, unwavering stand on this critical human rights issue,” added Vartan.

Vartan made a special point of stressing the many contributions Armenian American Republicans are making to the United States. Among those he cited were Armenian American
Congressman John Sweeney (R-NY); New Jersey State Republican Party Chairman Garabed Haytaian; California State Senator Chuck Poochigian; California Assemblyman Howard Kaloogian, and; Brian Flaherty, the Deputy Minority Leader of the Connecticut House of
Representatives. He also noted that many Armenian Americans will play key roles at the Republican Convention, including Nanig Manoukian from Michigan, Steve Samuelian, who works
as Congressman George Radanovich’s (R-CA) District Director, and; Elise Kenderian, Congressman Jim Saxton’s (R-NJ) Legislative Director.

ANCA Testimony Before DNC Broadcast Live on C-SPAN

A national television audience watched Janet Haroian’s presentation of the ANCA’s testimony before the Democratic National Committee. A long-time leader in the Illinois Armenian community, Haroian serves as an Alderman of the City of Edwardsville, Illinois. She was first elected to office in 1993 and is now in her third term of office. She also serves as the City’s Mayor Pro-Tem. Haroian delivered her remarks on July 6th at the St. Louis campus of the University of Missouri.

The panel Haroian testified before was co-chaired by North Carolina Governor James B. Hunt and Maryland Lt. Governor Kathleen Kennedy Townsend. Illinois Senator Dick Durbin, a friend of Haroian’s and a long-standing ally of the Armenian American community, also
served on the platform committee.

In her remarks before the panel Haroian noted that Armenian Americans “value the historic role that the Democratic Party has played – and continues to play – in opening the doors for ethnic Americans to the U.S. political process. The Democratic Party has a long and proud history of promoting tolerance, fostering diversity and involving all Americans – regardless of their background – in the work of our great democracy.”

In calling for increased aid levels of Armenia, Haroian applauded “the efforts of Vice President Al Gore in launching the U.S.-Armenia Economic Task Force,” noting that “this group met in May of this year in Yerevan and has already undertaken a number of important
initiatives to promote increased trade and investment in Armenia.”

Haroian cited a number of Armenian American Democrats across the nation who are playing an increasingly important role in the work of the Democratic Party, such as South Carolina Democratic Party Chairman Richard Harpootlian. She also noted a number of California Armenian Democrats, including Congresswoman Anna Eshoo, State Senator Jackie Speier,
Glendale Council-member Rafi Manoukian and Duarte Council-member George Chapjian. Also mentioned were Massachusetts State Senate President Linda Melconian and State Representatives Rachel Kaprielian and Peter Koutoujian of Massachusetts, as well as Rhode Island State Representative John Simonian.

Among those also testifying before Democratic Platform Committee were representatives of the Ford Foundation, AFL-CIO, the Federal Reserve Board, Americans for Democratic Action,
American Federation of Government Employees, White House Conference on Aging, American Hospital Association, American Jewish Committee, National Mayor’s Council, Environmental Defense Fund, American Legion, Federal Communications Commission, and the Business Roundtable.


For Immediate Release
Media Contact: Elizabeth Chouldjian
Email / Tel: (202) 775-1918
Armenian National Committee of America
888 17th Street, NW, Suite 904, Washington, DC 20006
Tel. (202) 775-1918 * Fax. (202) 775-5648 *
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