Armenian Americans Greet Sen. Edwards in Burbank

BURBANK–A delegation of leading Armenian American activists met briefly with Democratic Vice Presidential hopeful–Senator John Edwards–on October 12 at Bob Hope Airport in Burbank–California. The North Carolina Senator was in the Los Angeles area to make an appearance on NBC’s "Tonight Show with Jay Leno." The Armenian Americans greeting Edwards were part of the national "Armenia’s for Kerry" effort. They were joined by a group of Democratic public officials and Party activists who have been actively promoting the Kerry-Edwards ticket leading up to the November Presidential election.

Armenia’s for Kerry received a big boost from the Armenian National Committee of America’s (ANCA) endorsement of the Kerry-Edwards campaign back in July and has continued to build up momentum as the race for the White House draws to a close.

In addition to setting up a website (www.Armenia’sforKerry.com) which details the key differences between incumbent President George W. Bush and Massachusetts Senator John Kerry on issues of importance to Armenian Americans–the group has also launched a campaign which taps into specific swing states where Armenian American votes can make a difference in the final weeks of the race for the White House. Armenia’s for Kerry uses a broad based national strategy that leverages the Armenian American community’s most valuable resource–its dedicated grassroots activist base. Working in coordination with a number of like-minded groups–Armenia’s for Kerry coordinated a three-prong strategy to encourage Armenian-Americans to participate in the upcoming elections and vote for Senator Kerry.

Building on the Armenian National Committee of America’s effort to raise awareness of John Kerry’s 20-year record of supporting Armenian-American concerns–on issues ranging from recognition of the Armenian genocide and self-determination for Karabagh–to increased aid–expanded trade–and an end to the blockades of Armenia–Armenia’s for Kerry has developed a postcard displaying Sen. Kerry’s positive record next to President Bush’s neglect of issues of concern to Armenian-American voters. This–the first initiative in the three-prong strategy–was aimed at Armenian Americans in swing states. Over 20,000 postcards were targeted to Armenian-American homes in states such as Florida–Nevada–and Ohio with personal notes from individuals who care about Armenian issues and highlighting Kerry as the clear choice for Armenian American voters.

On October 9–the second phase of the strategy was launched with community activists across the United States calling swing state voters and urging fellow Armenian Americans to vote for Senator Kerry on Election Day. Armenia’s for Kerry activists again paired up with volunteers representing organizations such as the Armenian Youth Federation to reach out to a targeted list of homes. A spokesman for the groups said that this effort is going to continue through the end of the election.

Groups of activists have also been involved in implementing the final stage of the Armenia’s for Kerry strategy–canvassing. With the outcome of the election likely to ride on a few states–Armenian American activists have been walking door-to-door to share Sen. Kerry’s positive vision for America. In many cases–Armenian Americans have collaborated with local Democratic clubs to maximize the impact of their efforts.

In addition to these efforts–the group has been carrying out voter education and registration drives to increase voter turnout in the Armenian American community. Armenia’s for Kerry is working with "Hye Voter Turnout," an ANCA program that encourages Armenian American voter participation in the upcoming election. The program has already broadcasta "Get-Out-the-Vote" public service announcement on Horizon 24 Hour Armenian Satellite Television for the past two weeks.

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