South Florida Congressional Candidates Reach out to Armenian Americans

BOCA RATON, FL–Grassroots supporters of the Armenian National Committee of South Florida (ANC of S. FL) came out in large numbers on August 22, 2008 to hear from U.S. Representative Ron Klein (D-FL-22) at a town hall event held in Boca Raton, Florida. The town hall meeting, hosted by the ANC of South Florida, was held at the Boca Raton Shrine Club and attracted over 100 individuals.

Marking the opening of the town hall meeting, the newly formed scouts of Homenetmen of South Florida, recited the Pledge of Allegiance. In his opening remarks to the attendees, Daniel Danielian, vice-chairman of the ANC of South Florida, introduced Rep. Ron Klein.

Congressman Klein spoke at length about his involvement in the House Committee on Foreign Affairs, where he voted in favor of H.Res. 106, the Armenian Genocide resolution last October. Despite strong opposition from the Bush Administration, military officers, and by his friend, Rep. Robert Wexler (D-FL-19), Klein said, "it was the right thing to do."

Reflecting the anxiety of the American public on the shaky economy, discussions also ensured regarding grant opportunities, development programs and public/private partnerships available to small businesses in South Florida, as well as opportunities available to veterans through the Office of Veterans Business Development and other programs.

Also present among Armenian Americans was congressional candidate for 19th district, Dr. Benjamin Graber. Graber, a former mayor of Ft. Lauderdale, has a strong record on human rights issues, including a resolution commemorating the Armenian Genocide by the City of Fort Lauderdale. Earlier this year, community activists
from the area gathered to protest Wexler’s genocide denial and heard from Graber at a rally in Ft. Lauderdale.

The 19th district, running from West Palm Beach to Ft. Lauderdale, boasts one of the largest concentrations of Armenia’s in the state of Florida. Ben Graber’s opposition to incumbent Wexler’s policies on the Armenian Genocide was well publicized by the local press and welcomed by the Armenian American community prior to his meeting with community members and leaders.

Following the event, Albert Mazmanian, Chairman of the ANC of South Florida commented: "We were happy to see community members come out to hear from Congressman Klein as well as Congressional candidate Benjamin Graber. We look forward to working with both of them to build a strong relationship in the area."

The Armenian National Committee of South Florida is part of the largest and most influential Armenian American grassroots public affairs organization in the State of Florida. Working in coordination with a network of offices, chapters, and supporters throughout the Eastern United States and affiliated organizations around the country, this local ANC chapter promotes awareness of issues of concern to the Armenian American community.

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