WASHINGTON, DC – The Armenian National Committee of America (ANCA) today welcomed the entry of John Edwards, a former Senator from North Carolina who supports U.S. recognition of the Armenian Genocide, into the race for the 2008 Democratic nomination for U.S. President.
“We are always pleased to see friends of the Armenian American community running for the White House,” said ANCA Executive Director Aram Hamparian. “In the coming months, as the field of candidates takes shape – in both the Democratic and Republican parties, we look forward to learning more about each presidential aspirant’s positions on the full range of Armenian American issues.”
During his tenure in the Senate, Edwards supported issues of special concern to Armenian Americans, including official U.S. recognition of the Armenian Genocide. In 2002, Senator Edwards cosponsored S.Res.307, which marked the 15th anniversary of the U.S. implementation of the U.N. Genocide Convention. The following year, he was an original cosponsor of the Armenian Genocide Resolution, S.Res.164.
During his run for the 2004 Democratic Presidential nomination, Sen. Edwards spoke with ANCA leaders about the importance of impressing upon Armenia’s neighbors that “We [America] stand fully behind Armenia.” In public remarks during the campaign, he stressed that America’s interest are served by recognizing the Armenian Genocide, noting that, “it is the just thing to do; it is about time we [Americans] recognized it.”
Among the most likely Republican presidential contenders, two New Yorkers stand out as especially strong supporters of Armenian issues. Former New York City Mayor Rudolph Giuliani hosted commemorations of the Armenian Genocide in City Hall and maintained close relations with the Armenian National Committee of New York. Outgoing New York Governor George Pataki, during his twelve years as governor, maintained excellent relations with the leadership of the Armenian community, and emerged as the nation’s most vocal and energetic state-level leader working toward U.S. recognition of the Armenian Genocide.
Former Virginia Governor and Republican National Committee Chairman Jim Gilmore is a long-standing supporter of Armenian issues. As governor of the Commonwealth, he served as Chairman of Virginia’s April 24th commemorations and inaugurated the Virginia-Armenia Advisory Commission. Senator John McCain (R-NV), during his lengthy Senate service, has generally not been supportive of Armenian American issues, but does maintain a relationship with the Arizona Armenian community. Despite the high level of civic participation by the Bay State’s Armenian community, outgoing Massachusetts Governor Mitt Romney was largely indifferent to Armenian American issues during his term in office. Senator Sam Brownback (R-KS) for many years opposed Armenian American issues, particularly concerning restrictions on U.S. aid to Azerbaijan, but has, in recent years, emerged as an advocate for U.S. recognition of the Armenian Genocide.
Among the potential, or already announced, Democratic candidates who have supported U.S. recognition of the Armenian Genocide are Senators John Kerry (D-MA), Joseph Biden, the incoming Chairman of the Foreign Relations Committee, Hillary Rodham Clinton (D-NY), Christopher Dodd (D-CT), Barack Obama (D-IL), retired General Wesley Clark, and Congressman Dennis Kucinich (D-OH). Iowa Governor Tom Vilsack has no record on Armenian issues. Former Vice President Al Gore supported Armenian Genocide recognition during his service in the Senate, but, as part of the Clinton-Gore White House, blocked adoption of the Armenian Genocide Resolution.
Photo Caption: Presidential candidate John Edwards [second from left] with ANCA Western Region Chairman Raffi Hamparian, ANCA Western Region Board Member Steven Dadaian, and ANCA supporter Sahag Majarian.