Rep. Lewis Pledges Support for Armenian Genocide Recognition

Appropriations Committee Chairman Confers with Big Bear Native on Armenian American Concerns

WASHINGTON–DC (ANCA)–Local Big Bear resident Felicia Garver met with House Appropriations Committee Chairman Jerry Lewis (R-CA) to discuss a range of Armenian American issues including efforts to strengthen the US-Armenia bilateral relationship–and support for Armenian Genocide legislation.

Garver–who is participating in the ANCA Leo Sarkisian Internship Program–was joined at the meeting by ANCA Government Affairs Director Kate Nahapetian. Both stressed the importance of a principled US policy committed to ending the cycle of genocide and encouraged support for Armenian Genocide legislation (HR316) and the Darfur Peace and Accountability Act (HR3127).

In a July 20 letter to Garver following the meeting–Rep. Lewis stated "I want you to know that I strongly support recognition of the Armenian Genocide." He went on to note that "by remembering the Armenian Genocide and honoring its victims–we can help to send a message that such crimes cannot be allowed to recur."

Other issues discussed with Rep. Lewis included support for legislation that calls for lifting Turkey’s 12-year blockade of Armenia (HR3103)–as well as a bill calling for free and fair parliamentary elections in Azerbaijan (HRes326). Rep. Lewis was among the 416 members of Congress to vote for passage of HRes326 on July 20. A strong proponent of foreign aid–Rep. Lewis argued for an overall increase in international assistance spending.

"It was an honor and a pleasure meeting with Rep. Lewis again to discuss both local Armenian American concerns and issues facing Big Bear–in general," Garver stated. "I look forward to working with our community in the district to build on the dialogue with the Congressman."

A native of Big Bear–Garver had met with Rep. Lewis in 2003 both in Redlands–CA and Washington–DC as one of ten students in the nation to receive the Girl Scout Gold Award–Young Woman of Distinction–in recognition of their exceptional leadership and commitment to community service.

A member of Congress since 1978–Congressman Lewis currently serves as chairman of the House Appropriations Committee–which is responsible for funding all federal programs. From 1999-2005–he was chairman of the Defense Appropriations Subcommittee–the panel with jurisdiction over all national security matters including the entire $416 billion Pentagon budget–nearly half of all funds appropriated by Congress. Lewis also serves on the Foreign Operations Appropriations Subcommittee and the Transportation and Treasury Appropriations Subcommittee.

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