ANC-PAC Endorses Little Armenia’s Congresswoman-Diane Watson

LOS ANGELES–The nation’s largest and most active Armenian American political action committee, the Armenian National Committee-Political Action Committee (ANC-PAC) has endorsed Congresswoman Diane Watson. Watson represents California’s 33rd Congressional District, which includes the area known as Little Armenia in Hollywood. The Congresswoman, who serves as a senior member of the House Foreign Affairs Committee, has been a staunch supporter of Armenian American issues since her election to the U.S. House of Representatives in 2001.

"Diane Watson is the best friend the Armenian American community in Little Armenia could wish for," commented longtime Hollywood activist and ANC-PAC supporter Garo Ispendjian. "We are pleased to endorse her re-election and are honored that she is a firm ally for her constituents of Armenian descent. Whether you call her office for a matter dealing with Social Security or on a human rights subject, Diane and her staff are always thoughtful and always effective in addressing your concerns", Ispendjian added.

Congresswoman Watson’s record of support on Armenian issues spans a vast range of issues; from securing self-determination for the people of Nagorno-Karabakh, ensuring that Armenian Americans are properly counted in the upcoming 2010 US Census, to properly recognizing and seeking justice on the Armenian Genocide.

Earlier this month, Watson used her position as a member of the House Government Reform and Oversight Committee to encourage the federal government to make a robust effort to count all Armenian Americans during the upcoming 2010 US Census. A comprehensive count of Armenian Americans is important because it impacts the services and amount of resources the federal government will provide to our community.

Recently, Watson pressed Daniel Fried, Assistant Secretary of State for European and Eurasian Affairs, on the Bush Administration’s denial of the Armenian Genocide. The confrontation with Fried occurred at a June 18, 2008 hearing held by the House Foreign Affairs Committee, entitled "The Caucasus: Frozen Conflicts and Closed Borders." In speaking with Fried, Watson remarked, "Let me get you on the record: this administration does not think that what happened in 1915 was genocide? Yes or no? Yes or no?" Fried awkwardly replied, "We have never denied…." until the Congresswoman cut him off: "Can you give me a yes or no?" she asked again. Fried hesitated and then replied: "Ma’am, I am trying to."

The Watson-Fried exchange may be viewed at http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=rKBiOZox1O0.

In addition to consistently scoring grades of "A" in the annual ANCA Congressional Report Card, Watson has also garnered a grade of "A " for her outstanding effort to stop the ongoing genocide in Darfur. The ANC-PAC is proud that Congresswoman Watson has visited Darfur and supported all legislative efforts to place pressure on the regime in Khartoum, Sudan to stop the killing.

In 1975, Diane Watson became the first African American woman to be elected to the Los Angeles Unified School District’s Board of Education. In 1978, she was elected to the California State Senate, where should would serve for well over a decade. Following a brief stint as U.S. Ambassador to the Federated States of Micronesia, she was elected to the U.S. House of Representatives in a special election held on June 5, 2001.

The ANC-PAC is a non-partisan federally registered political action committee established to support campaign committees for Members of Congress who share the values of the Armenian American community. The ANC-PAC is at the forefront of efforts to ensure that the voice of the Armenian American community is clearly heard in our nation’s capital. The ANC-PAC continues a century old tradition of Armenian American engagement on the public policy issues facing national political leaders, both in the U.S. Congress and the White House.

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