Strengthen Alliances with Coalition Partners

August 5, 2004

BOSTON, MA – Armenian Americans from throughout the United States took part in the Democratic National Convention last week to communicate Armenian American priorities, strengthen alliances, and contribute to the success of the Kerry-Edwards ticket this November, reported the Armenian National Committee of America (ANCA).

Armenian American delegates to the Convention represented states, ranging from Colorado and Iowa to New York, Massachusetts and Rhode Island. They were joined by local community activists from Massachusetts, invited guests, and representatives of the Armenian American press.

Kathryn Allikian, an Iowa alternate delegate attending a national party convention for the first time, cited a range of domestic and Armenian American concerns which led her to lend her support to the Kerry-Edwards ticket. “When I first heard that the Bush Administration had placed Armenia on the terrorist watch list after 9/11. That just floored me. All they had to do is do their homework. I’m glad that it was taken off and that they recognized their mistake, but it took a lot of lobbying efforts from the Armenian community’s side to get that done.” Other Armenian American delegates included Massachusetts State Representative Rachel Kaprielian, ANC Rhode Island activist Ani Haroian, Armene Brown, and Mike Najarian.

Armenian Americans were also active in the Convention through participation in the Democratic Party’s Ethnic Caucus, which took place on July 28th. The two-hour Caucus meeting, run by Caucus Co-Chairman and Arab American Institute Chairman Jim Zogby, featured a range of speakers including Kerry-Edwards campaign co-chairwoman, former New Hampshire Governor Jean Shaheen, Connecticut Congresswoman Rosa DeLauro, and Kerry-Edwards Ethnic Outreach Coordinator George Kivork. In addressing the ethnic community representatives, Rep. DeLauro explained, “You are tireless advocates for what makes our country unique and special. It is that diversity of background and opinion, cultural tradition and value. That is what our country is all about. And what you all do is help preserve the core of the American experience and the notion that we can build a more perfect union.”

Since its inception in the early 1990’s, the Armenian American community’s participation in the Caucus has been through the Armenian American Democratic Leadership Council, which actively fosters support within the Armenian American community for the Democratic Party and national Democratic office holders, while promoting the election of Armenian American Democrats to political office and encouraging participation by Armenian American Democrats at all levels of the public policy process.

State Representative Koutoujian Urges Armenian American Youth: “Please Get Involved, We Need You.”

Massachusetts State Representative Peter Koutoujian and John Kerry for President Ethnic Outreach Coordinator George Kivork outlined the Senator Kerry’s strong record on Armenian American concerns including Sen. Kerry’s twenty year record in support of Armenian Genocide recognition efforts, and leadership in the adoption of Freedom Support Act restrictions on U.S. aid to Azerbaijan due their ongoing blockade of Armenia and Nagorno Karabagh.

The ANCA, in its official statement endorsing the Kerry/Edwards ticket provided an extensive accounting of both Sen. Kerry’s and Pres. Bush’s records on Armenian American concerns. The full text of the endorsement may be read on the ANCA website at:

Both Koutoujian and Kivork made a general call for greater Armenian American involvement in the political process. When asked to provide a message to Armenian American youth considering a career in politics, Rep. Koutoujian stated, “I would say to all the young Armenians – ‘Please get involved, we need you.’ There are only two State Representatives up here (Massachusetts) – myself and Rachel Kaprielian, and that’s kind of shameful. . . We really need our young people to rise up to positions of power and positions of influence where we can affect change, we can affect policy issues.”

Kivork’s message was equally emphatic: “Get involved. Get involved right now. We need Armenian Americans getting involved in every level of campaign – whether it is city council, your local Congressman, you school board. Just get involved, because at the end of the day, you are the face of not just the candidate, but of all Armenian Americans. You have a unique opportunity to represent both your community and your candidate in a positive light. Just get involved.”

Rep. Schiff: “We are going to take every opportunity to bring the [Genocide Recognition] fight to the floor of the Congress

Rep. Adam Schiff (D-CA) was among the thousands of Democratic elected officials to participate at the Convention this year. In an interview with Horizon Armenian Television, Rep. Schiff, who successfully spearheaded an amendment to the foreign aid bill, which restricts the use of U.S. assistance to Turkey in lobbying against the Genocide Resolution, outlined the next steps in securing Congressional support for the measure.

“The amendment is part of the House Bill. It is not yet part of the Senate Bill. We want to make sure it stays in on the Conference Committee,” explained Rep. Schiff. “Regrettably the House Leadership, Speaker Hastert, Tom Delay and others have pledged to do everything they can to strip it out of the bill. So we have a fight on our bill.” Rep. Schiff is referring to a strongly worded statement by Speaker Hastert, Majority Leader Tom DeLay and Majority Leader Roy Blunt, issued immediately following the passage of the amendment, critical of the amendment and pledging not to schedule a floor vote on the Genocide resolution, H.Res.193. The Genocide Resolution, which was introduced by Rep. George Radanovich (R-CA), Rep. Schiff and Congressional Armenian Caucus Co-Chairs Frank Pallone (D-NJ) and Joe Knollenberg (R-MI), has 111 cosponsors and was adopted unanimously by the House Judiciary Committee in May, 2003.

Following the passage of the Schiff amendment, Representatives Radanovich, Pallone and Schiff initiated a Congressional letter to Speaker Hastert asking him to schedule a vote on the Genocide Resolution. The letter has already garnered over 30 Congressional signatories. Rep. Schiff stressed the importance of nationwide Armenian American activism in support of the letter to send a clear message to the House leadership. “If he [Speaker Hastert] doesn’t hear from people throughout this country, he is going to think that people don’t care. On the other hand, if he can hear from all of us, if we can send thousands and thousands of faxes, he’s going to know that there is a price to making a promise to our community and then breaching it.”


For Immediate Release
Media Contact: Elizabeth S. 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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