US Representatives Hooley And Baird Meet with Oregon And Washington Armenian Communities

PORTLAND–Members of the greater Portland-area and southwestern Washington State communities held meetings with the district offices of Congresswoman Darlene Hooley (D-OR-05) and Congressman Brian Baird (D-WA-03) on March 7 to ask the representatives to cosponsor H.Res.106, the Armenian Genocide resolution that was introduced in the House of Representatives earlier this year. Organized by ANC of Oregon Chairman Rafael Saakyan, the meetings also aimed to continue to strengthen local grassroots relationships the Representatives. Activist David Tufenkian as well as Armenian Community of Oregon Vice President Ed Shabanian joined Saakyan for a meeting with Congressional Staffer Jen Wagner at Rep. Hooley’s West Linn district office. Wagner had met with Saakyan along with Armenian Apostolic Church of Portland Parish Council Chairman Kevork Parseghian and ANCA-Western Region Community Relations Director Haig Hovsepian previously. At that time, they discussed many issues of concern to the Oregon Armenian community, including the Armenian Genocide resolution from the previous Congress. Wagner noted the Congresswoman’s interest in the current resolution and encouraged the ANC of Oregon to continue its efforts to bring this constituent concern to her attention. Later that afternoon, Saakyan joined southwestern Washington residents John Coutsoubos, Arthur Lazaretyan, Mike Kazanjian, as well as Mr. and Mrs. Petros Bournelis for a meeting with Rep. Baird’s District Director, Kelly Love. Love thanked the Congressman’s constituents for bringing the issue to her attention and welcomed them to continue to work with the ANC at the local, regional, and national levels regarding Rep. Baird’s support for the resolution. As a direct result of these key constituent meetings and relationships, Representative Baird has agreed to cosponsor the Armenian Genocide resolution, bringing the total number of co-sponsors to 184. "We wanted to make sure our elected officials were aware of the significance of this resolution and why it was important to support it," said Saakyan. "This resolution sends a clear message that our Congress has the strength to acknowledge the Armenian Genocide and provide the moral foundation to help us fight the continuing specter of genocide that confronts us today in Darfur."

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