Mid-Term Elections Seen as Victory for Armenian Community

The results of Tuesday’s mid-term elections can be seen as a victory for the Armenian-American community, primarily because with the Democratic party control of the House of Representatives, Rep. Nancy Pelosi (D-Calif.) will become its new Speaker. A longtime supporter of Armenian-American issues, Pelosi pledged to support Armenian Genocide legislation next year during the 110th session of Congress. In a statement released several weeks ago to Harut Sassounian, publisher of the California Courier, Congresswoman Pelosi stated: "I have supported legislation, including H.Res. 316, that would properly acknowledge the Armenian Genocide. It is imperative that the United States recognize this atrocity and move to renew our commitment to eliminate genocide whenever and wherever it exists. This effort enjoys strong bipartisan support in the House, and I will continue to support these efforts in the 110th Congress." Also of interest was the wide-margin victory by Democratic Sen. Robert Menendez of New Jersey, who placed a hold on the nomination of Richard Hoagland as US Ambassador to Armenia for his failure to recognize the Armenian Genocide and properly respond to senators’ questions on his posturing about the Genocide issue. The results of Tuesday’s elections also saw five of six Armenian National Committee-Political Action Committee-endorsed candidates win their seats in statewide elections in California. Community activist Paul Krikorian led a landslide victory for the 43rd Assembly race as did Democratic representatives Adam Schiff (D-29) and Brad Sherman (D-27). Also winning their races were fellow ANC-PAC-endorsed candidates John Garamendi (Lieutenant Governor), John Chiang (State Controller), as well as Leland Yee (8th Senate) and Anthony Portantino (44th Assembly). Fresno native Chuck Poochigian lost his bid for State Attorney General to former California Governor Gerry Brown. "We are pleased that so many of our endorsed candidates, all strong on issues of concern to our community," remarked ANC PAC Chairman, Leonard Manoukian. Residents of California’s 43rd State Assembly District may recall the particularly bitter primary election in which ANC PAC support factored heavily in Krekorian’s win. During the election, the candidate, the ANC, and the Armenian American community were targets of efforts to both defame the community and unjustly deny them their voting rights. Nonetheless, Krekorian stood strong, the ANC ensured that the community was informed of the issues and their rights, and the Armenian American community rallied strong and that momentum carried through to last night’s win in the general election. Krekorian, who recently served as the Burbank Unified School District Board of Education President, will head to Sacramento in January to be sworn in as the next State Assembly Member to represent the 43rd district, an area which includes the greatest concentration of Armenian Americans in the United States. "Krekorian’s victory is particularly notable as it signals another stage in the advancement of Armenian American political empowerment," noted Manoukian. On the national front, 93 percent of candidates endorsed by the Armenian National Committee of America won their bids in Tuesday’s vote. Of particular note were the ANC-PAC-endorsed victories of Republican candidate for Senate in Nevada, John Ensign, Massachusetts Democratic gubernatorial candidate Deval Patrick, as well as that of Democratic nominee, Nick Lampson who replaces the former Republican Majority Leader, Tom DeLay in Texas. Among other key Senate victories were Dianne Feinstein (D-Calif.), Joe Lieberman (D-Conn.), John Ensign (R-Nev.), Hillary Clinton (D-NY) and Ben Cardin, a Democrat vying for the Maryland open Senate seat. In the hotly contested Senate races, incumbent ANCA-endorsed Pennsylvania Republican Richard Santorum lost his reelection bid to Bob Casey Jr., while the nation awaits the results of the race in Virginia where ANCA-endorsed incumbent George Allen, at press time, remains in a tough race against Democrat James Webb.

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