ANCA, Massachusetts Armenians Rally Support for Community Favorite Peter Koutoujian in Hotly Contested Congressional Primary

October 14, 2013

WATERTOWN, MA – With less than 24 hours to go until the polls open in the 5th Congressional District of Massachusetts, the Armenian National Committee of America (ANCA), building on weeks of local and national campaigning, is making a final push to encourage supporters and activists nationwide to reach out to friends and family in this district to deliver strong voter turnout for Middlesex County Sheriff Peter Koutoujian, in what is expected to be a tight seven-way primary battle.

Polls will be open from 7:00am to 8:00pm on Tuesday, October 15th. Click here for information about polling places.

“This election will be decided by the candidate who can inspire and motivate the largest voter turnout – and Peter is the man to do it,” said ANCA activist Tamar Kanarian, who resides in Koutoujian’s home town of Waltham and has been rallying community-wide support for the candidate since he first announced his Congressional bid in June. Kanarian encouraged folks to continue joining her in volunteering with the campaign’s canvassing and phone bank initiatives, as the community gears up for the final hours of its targeted get-out-the-vote (GOTV) effort. Information for volunteer opportunities is available at www.koutoujianforcongress.com

“We have a chance to elect someone who has the same story we all have; who speaks not just as our friend, but as one of us,” explained ANCA National Board Member Richard Sarajian at a weekend meeting of activists and supporters from throughout the Eastern United States. “I have one task for you. I want you to call every single friend, relative or other person that you know in Peter Koutoujian’s district and get them out to vote.” Sarajian, who has been involved in federal, state and local elections for decades across neighboring New Jersey and New York states, spoke of his personal experience of primary elections similar to Koutoujian’s race, where turnouts have been historically low, and, in one recent case, decided by one vote.

Fellow ANCA Board Member and Massachusetts activist Steve Mesrobian concurred, reminding district residents that “you don’t have to be Democrat to vote for Peter in the primary. Independents who are ‘unenrolled’ – who have not specified a party – can play a critical role in this election and we’re reaching out to voters in this category to ensure Peter’s message is heard.”

Koutoujian’s already strong support within local political circles has skyrocketed over the past week with the endorsement by Massachusetts House Speaker Robert DeLeo. Two weeks prior, former State Senator Warren Tolman offered his endorsement of Koutoujian. Regional and local newspapers, including the Boston Herald and Waltham News have also announced their support for Koutoujian, citing his decades of public services and commitment to the views and values of local communities he has represented.

“With over 100 years of civic activism in Massachusetts and across the U.S., the Armenian American community knows that Peter’s success will be critical to expanding our voice on the fundamental issues we care about most – from justice for the Genocide, to a strong U.S. – Armenia relationship, to broader support for Karabakh’s independence,” explained ANCA Eastern Massachusetts leader and former Watertown City Councilman Dikran Kaligian. “But, as local leader Leo Sarkisian used to say, it requires each and every one of us to step-up and participate in the electoral process – and now is the time to do it.”

The ANCA was among early endorsers of Peter Koutoujian, citing his 25 years of government experience, beginning his career as a prosecutor in the Middlesex District Attorney’s Office. After four years, he was elected to the Massachusetts legislature in 1997.

He quickly rose through the ranks in the legislature, serving in leadership positions for 10 of his 14 years while in the Massachusetts House of Representatives. During that time, Koutoujian championed causes important to Armenian-Americans, including providing trade incentives for countries that recognize past genocides and penalizing companies that do business with countries known to be committing them. He was also the lead sponsor of annual Armenian Genocide Commemoration.

One of Koutoujian’s greatest achievements while serving in the Massachusetts Legislature was the creation of the Armenian Heritage Park (AHP) along the Rose Kennedy Greenway in downtown Boston. Peter authored the legislation to establish the park and aggressively pursued state officials for its approval. The AHP opened in May 2012.

Both the Democratic and Republic primaries to fill the Massachusetts 5th Congressional seat vacated by Sen. Ed Markey are taking place on Tuesday October 15th. Winners will face off in a general election on December 10th, where the Democratic candidate is overwhelmingly favored to win.

The Massachusetts 5th Congressional District contains the towns of: Arlington, Ashland, Belmont, Cambridge, Framingham, Holliston, Lexington, Lincoln, Malden, Medford, Melrose, Natick, Revere, Sherborn, Southborough, Stoneham, Sudbury, Waltham, Watertown, Wayland, Weston, Winchester, Winthrop, and Woburn. To find out if you or your friends reside in the district, please visit: https://www.sec.state.ma.us/ele/


Photo Captions:

koutoujian_anca.jpg: Koutoujian with ANCA National Board Member Stephen Mesrobian, ANCA Eastern Region Board Member Tamar Kanarian and ANCA Eastern Massachusetts activists Mikael Garabedian and Dikran Kaligian.

koutoujian_hagopian.jpg: “When it comes to Armenian issues, party and affiliation should not matter. If someone is willing to push for our views and values on Capitol Hill and beyond, we should learn from them and embrace their efforts. Because they will be the one speaking on your behalf at a higher level,” explained ANCA Eastern Region leader Michelle Hagopian, seen here with Koutoujian.

For Immediate Release
Media Contact: Elizabeth S. Chouldjian
Email / Tel: (202) 775-1918 / (703) 585-8254 cell
Armenian National Committee of America
1711 N Street, NW, Washington, DC 20036
Tel. (202) 775-1918 * Fax. (202) 775-5648 * Email.anca@anca.org
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