October 11, 2018
For Immediate Release
Contact: Elizabeth S. Chouldjian
tel. (202) 775-1918

Pro-Armenia/Artsakh Senate and House Leaders Score ANCA Endorsements

Congressional Champions Earn ‘A+’ Ratings on ANCA Report Cards

WASHINGTON, DC – Congresswoman Kathryn Clark of Massachusetts, the Democratic champion of pro-Armenia environmental legislation, and Congressman David Valadao, the California Republican representing the Central Valley who spearheaded renewed U.S. appropriations for Artsakh de-mining, were among the 179 U.S. Congressional candidates from 35 states that earned 2018 Armenian National Committee of America (ANCA) endorsements for their sustained pro-Armenia and Artsakh records of support on ANCA-backed initiatives.

Heading up the ANCA’s Senate endorsement list is Senator Bob Menendez, a Democrat from New Jersey, who serves as the Ranking Member of the Foreign Relations Committee. He is the lead author of S.Res.136, which calls on the U.S. to “work toward an equitable, constructive, stable, and durable Armenian-Turkish relationship that includes the full acknowledgment by the Government of the Republic of Turkey of the facts about the Armenian Genocide.” His relentless advocacy for a broad array of pro-Armenian priorities was mostly recently on display during his aggressive questioning of President Trump’s nominee to serve as U.S. Ambassador to Azerbaijan. Across the Senate aisle, the ANCA is endorsing Ted Cruz, a Texas Republican who cosponsored the Armenian Genocide Resolution, S.Res.136, publicly demanded that Turkey apologize for the May 2017 attack by Erdogan bodyguards against Armenian and Kurdish American protesters in Washington, DC, and repeatedly called upon Turkey to release unjustly jailed pastor Andrew Brunson.

Also earning ANCA endorsements were Congressional Armenian Caucus founder and Co-Chair Frank Pallone, a New Jersey Democrat who traveled to Artsakh last year and, upon his return, introduced the U.S.-Artsakh Travel and Communication Resolution, H.Res.697, to remove artificial barriers to greater U.S. engagement with the Artsakh Republic. Congressman Brad Sherman scored an ANCA endorsement in recognition of his advocacy for a broad array of ANCA-backed priorities, most notably his tireless efforts for a new U.S.-Armenia Tax Treaty, which would, by eliminating the threat of double taxation, remove a major barrier to the growth of U.S. investments in Armenia. Congressman Chris Smith, a New Jersey Republican, won an ANCA endorsement for, among many reasons, his authorship of H.Res.537, an Azerbaijani sanctions act.

The ANCA is endorsing four Armenian Americans running for federal office, including two House incumbents -Congresswoman Jackie Speier (D-CA), who serves as Co-Chair of the Congressional Armenian Caucus and Congresswoman Anna Eshoo (D-CA), who has been at the forefront of efforts to support Christian communities in the Middle East. Joining them is Republican Danny Tarkanian, who is running for an open House seat in Nevada’s third Congressional district and has been a longstanding advocate on Armenian issues, and Democrat Anthony Brindisi, challenging incumbent Congresswoman Claudia Tenney (R-NY) in upstate New York.

Overall, the ANCA is endorsing seven candidates running in open seats or challenging incumbents. Joining Tarkanian and Brindisi in the U.S. House are Democrat Lori Trahan running in Massachusetts’ third district; Republican Young Kim running in Orange County, CA to succeed retiring House Foreign Affairs Committee Chairman Ed Royce (R-CA); and, Democrat Tom Malinowski challenging Rep. Leonard Lance in New Jersey’s 7th Congressional district. On the Senate side, the ANCA is endorsing California State Senator Kevin De Leon over Sen. Dianne Feinstein and Nevada Congresswoman Jacky Rosen in her bid to unseat Sen. Dean Heller.

“We are pleased to stand by federal legislators and candidates who have stood with Armenia and Artsakh,” shared ANCA Government Affairs Director Raffi Karakashian. “By throwing our electoral support behind candidates with proven track records in advancing ANCA-backed core community initiatives, we are looking to expand the voices committed to strengthening the U.S.-Armenia relationship, ensuring safety and security for an independent Artsakh, and helping secure justice for the Armenian Genocide. The ANCA is looking forward to advancing the policies embedded in our ANCA 360 initiative with all Members of Congress in the upcoming 116th Congress,” Karakashian added.

Each ANCA endorsement is backed up by detailed Report Cards documenting the track record of each incumbent Senator and Representative across a broad range of Armenian American issues – including U.S.-Armenia relations, Artsakh’s freedom and security, and justice for the Armenian Genocide, as well as legislative initiatives related to the welfare of Christian and other at-risk Middle East minorities, and U.S. policy toward Turkey – ranging from human rights and the occupation of Cyprus to America’s over-reliance on the Incirlik airbase. Also taken into consideration are membership in the Armenian Caucus; travel to Armenia and Artsakh; participation in Armenian American events commemorating the Armenian Genocide, celebrating Artsakh’s freedom, and marking Armenia’s independence; engagement with local Armenian American constituents, and; significantly, support for a broad array of Congressional letters on ANCA-backed advocacy priorities – including the FY18 and FY19 foreign aid bills.

Among the key pieces of legislation scored as part of the ANCA Report Cards were the following:

— Armenian Genocide Resolution, H.Res.220 and S.Res.136
— U.S.-Artsakh Travel and Communication Resolution, H.Res.697
— Haiti and Armenia Reforestation Act, H.6503, S.3272
— Resolution Condemning Erdogan-ordered attack in Washington, H.Res.354
— Azerbaijan Human Rights Resolution, H.Res.537
— Restricting International Financial Aid/Loans to Turkey Act, H.6633 and S.3248
— Block F-35 Sale to Turkey Act, H. 5863 and S.2781
— Resolution against Turkey’s purchase of Russian S-400 missiles, H.Res.951

ANCA Report Cards include three distinct sections:

— A point by point overview of the Senator’s / Representative’s support on legislation, Congressional letters, and participation in Capitol Hill events advancing Armenian American priorities.

— A “Congressional Notes” section spotlighting additional statements, social media posts, and community outreach efforts on issues of Armenian American concern.

— A “Communications with Foreign Agents” section which highlights Turkish and Azerbaijani Government outreach to Senate and House members during the 115th Congress (2017 to 2018) through top lobbying firms paid millions to advance President Erdogan’s and President Aliyev’s policies in the U.S. The communications are detailed in required filings at the U.S. Department of Justice as part of the Foreign Agent Registration Act.

ANCA Report Cards also include previous grades and links to previous Report Cards for each Senator and Representative, offering constituents the opportunity to review their progress on Armenian American concerns. A “Congressional Bio” link offers information about the elected official’s background, education, prior occupation, committees they serve on and methods to contact their Senate/House offices.

ANCA Report Cards are prepared in close consultation with ANCA regional offices and local chapters across the country. The ANCA Eastern Region and ANCA Western Region are in the process of announcing state and local candidate endorsements.

To review the ANCA Congressional Report Cards, visit: https://anca.org/report-card.

To review the ANCA Congressional Endorsements, visit: https://anca.org/anca-congressional-endorsements-2018/

Armenian Americans interested in learning about their Congressional districts can type in their address and ZIP code at the ANCA Election section here.