ANCA Withholds Presidential Endorsement

* Calls for increased grassroots advocacy. WASHINGTON–The Armenian National Committee of America Tuesday issued the following statement on the November 7th Presidential and Congressional elections.

After careful consideration of both the Bush-Cheney and Gore-Lieberman tickets–the Armenian National Committee of America announced that it will not issue a full endorsement in this year’s presidential race. Instead the ANCA calls upon Armenian American voters to mobilize and dramatically expand their grassroots advocacy in the coming four years.

The ANCA believes that–whichever ticket wins–the next Administration will respond to focused and effective advocacy on issues of concern to Armenian Americans. The ANCA’s detailed Congressional endorsemen’s represent an important element of this process by providing Armenian American voters with the information they need to solidify the strong support our community enjoys in Congress.

While neither ticket fully meets the ANCA’s endorsement criteria–each has given our community reason to believe that he will respond to some of our priorities. Most notably–Governor Bush has acknowledged the "genocidal campaign" against the Armenian people–and has pledged that–if elected–he would "ensure that [the United States] properly recognizes the tragic suffering of the Armenian people." Vice President Al Gore–in contrast–has refused to properly characterize the Armenian Genocide as "genocide," or to clearly indicate how a future Gore Administration would address this immensely important issue. On the other hand–the Vice President played a leading role in the establishment of the US-Armenia Economic Task Force to help expand trade and investment between the United States and Armenia.

In announcing this decision–the ANCA specifically notes the recent heavy-handed interference by the Clinton Administration in the democratic process on the Armenian Genocide resolution (H.Res.596) and the capitulation by the Speaker of the House to pressure from the Administration and the Turkish government to prevent a vote on this legislation. These actions represent a major breach of faith with the Armenian American community; a breach that neither candidate chose to criticize.

The challenge before the Armenian American community is to dramatically expand our activism and to strengthen our voice in the public policy debates on issues of concern to our community. We call upon Armenian Americans to meet this challenge by increasing our engagement with the Executive Branch and providing the strongest possible support for our friends in the US House and Senate on November 7th and throughout the 107th Congress.

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