Colorado Senate Candidates Go on the Record for Armenian Genocide Affirmation

WASHINGTON—With less than a month remaining to the Colorado primaries, each of the four candidates in the state’s highly-competitive Senate race have publicly staked out their stance in support of U.S. recognition of the Armenian Genocide, reported the Armenian National Committee of America (ANCA).

Colorado’s Senate seat, currently in contention, is held by Michael Bennet (D-CO), formerly Denver’s Schools Superintendent, who was appointed by Colorado’s governor to fill the post after Senator Ken Salazar (D-CO) left to become the Obama Administration’s Secretary of the Interior.  The winner of this race, which is currently being contested by two Democrats and two Republicans, will be elected to a full six-year term.

The Centennial State’s other Senator, Mark Udall, who has pledged publicly and repeatedly as a candidate to work for Armenian Genocide recognition, has, since his election, stated that he will not cosponsor the Armenian Genocide Resolution.  He will be up for reelection in 2014.

Colorado Armenian Americans have made U.S. affirmation of the Armenian Genocide a key factor in their support for Congressional candidates, with Rocky Mountain Hye Advocates (RMHA) activists Pamela Barsam Brown and Vi Bashian Cooper leading the charge in circulating candidate questionnaires in the 2008 and 2010 election seasons.

The positions articulated by the four Senate candidates are provided below.

Democrats:

*Andrew Romanoff

Romanoff was the first candidate to release his Armenian Genocide statement and pledge to serve as a cosponsor of legislation condemning and commemorating this crime.  His October 2009 statement was released as he declared his candidacy, and reaffirmed in a May 20th statement posted on his campaign website:

“From the outset of my political career I have stood firm with the human rights community in advocating recognition of past genocides and urging strong action against those societies seeking to perpetrate ethnic cleansing.”

“Last November, I vowed to be an original co-sponsor of an Armenian genocide affirmation resolution. This would  bring unequivocal clarity to America’s moral position on the Armenian genocide, which resulted in the deaths of two-thirds of Armenians residing in their ancient historic homeland – the Ottoman Empire.”

“Colorado has clearly spoken on this issue. The state’s Armenian community was joined in its April 2010 memorial with an outpouring of bi-partisan support that included a General Assembly resolution and proclamations from Governor Ritter and Mayor Hickenlooper.”

“Efforts in Congress, however, to similarly stand together, have languished. So I am renewing my pledge to vigorously work for the Senate adoption of an Armenian Genocide resolution, and I am proud to do so.”  [signed] Andrew Romanoff

*Michael Bennet

Bennet is seeking a full six-year term in the seat he was appointed to fill last year.

In February of 2010, he cosponsored the Armenian Genocide Resolution (S.Res. 316), and also issued a statement in which he said, “I also pledge to support similar legislation in the 2010-2011 Congress.”  His term, if elected, would extend through January of 2017.  In making this commitment, Bennet noted that, “the lessons of ignoring a travesty such as this have been made all too clear.”  Rocky Mountain Hye Advocates (RMHA) has asked Senator Bennet to clarify that his commitment to this human rights issue will extend throughout his service in the U.S. Senate.

Republicans:

*Ken Buck

Buck issued his first Armenian Genocide co-sponsorship pledge statement in February of 2010 and reaffirmed his stand in a June 2nd press release stating:

“As global leaders, we as Americans are charged with the responsibility of perpetuating statements and policies that respect the inalienable rights of every person. As the next U.S. Senator from Colorado, I will proudly co-sponsor a resolution that will finally acknowledge the brutality against the Armenians for what it was: genocide.”

Buck’s public announcement of his pledge has been reported in the Greeley Tribune and is available on his campaign website:

*Jane Norton

Norton, a former Lieutenant Governor, issued her campaign pledge in January of 2010:

“I am honored to pledge that if elected to serve the citizens of Colorado as their Senator, I will co-sponsor an Armenian Genocide Resolution until our nation affirms this tragic historical event.”

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