GLENDALE—The Armenian National Committee of America Western Region Board and the ANCA Glendale, Burbank, Pasadena, and Crescenta Valley local chapters met with California State Senator Anthony Portantino yesterday to formally endorse his re-election in 2020.
Senator Portantino represents the 25th district of the California State Senate encompassing the highest concentration of Armenians in the United States, including Burbank, Glendale, La Crescenta, La Cañada-Flintridge, Montrose, Pasadena, and Sunland-Tujunga.
Prior to his election to the State Senate, Senator Portantino served in the California State Assembly representing the 44th Assembly District from 2006 to 2012. During his time in the Assembly, Portantino was a passionate advocate for the Armenian American community, co-authoring state resolutions recognizing and commemorating the Armenian Genocide in Sacramento every year while in office.
“From his time as a State Assemblymember through his first term in the State Senate, Senator Anthony Portantino has proven himself to be a true champion not only of the Armenian-American community, but also of Armenia and Artsakh. We are truly grateful for his sincere friendship and solidarity, and while looking forward to the next four years of continuing our work together, we wholeheartedly endorse his campaign for re-election,” remarked ANCA-WR Chair Nora Hovsepian, Esq.
Since taking office in 2016, Senator Portantino has worked tirelessly to advance the Armenian Cause, earning the honor of being named “Legislator of the Year” at the 2017 ANCA-WR Annual Gala Banquet. His service to the Armenian American community includes spearheading the establishment of a historic state Select Committee on California, Armenia, and Artsakh Mutual Trade, Art, and Cultural Exchange, which aims to expand business opportunities through trade, economic development, cultural awareness, and education between California, Armenia, and Artsakh.
“I am very honored to have garnered the endorsement of the Armenian National Committee of America Western Region for reelection. Through our longstanding friendship, we have traveled to Armenia to foster improved trade relations and worked collaboratively at home to promote a significant positive agenda for the residents of the 25th Senate District and the state of California. I’m proud to represent the largest Armenian American community in a legislative district in California and very grateful to have the support and friendship of California’s largest grassroots Armenian advocacy organization,” stated Senator Portantino.
In his capacity as chair of the Select Committee, Senator Portantino has visited Armenia and Artsakh on multiple occasions, reiterating the commitment of the State of California to recognizing and securing the sovereignty and self-determination of the Artsakh Republic.
“Anthony Portantino’s consistent record and readiness to hear and strongly represent his constituents have created a foundation for a broad-based support from the community,” noted ANCA Glendale Chapter Chair Lucy Petrosian.
Senator Portantino’s commitment to justice for the Armenian nation through honest remembrance of the Armenian genocide was also seen in his crucial support for the passage of the Turkey Divestment Bill to end the public’s financing of genocide denial. It was in large part thanks to the leadership of Senator Portantino as Chair of the Senate Appropriations Committee and as a member of the Senate Public Employment and Retirement Committee that the divestment bill was passed by the Senate, ending the funding of Ankara’s campaign of denial by prohibiting the investment of public funds in entities owned, controlled or managed by the Turkish government.
“Senator Portantino has been an active legislator representing the Burbank Armenian-American community in Sacramento and locally,” said ANCA Burbank Chapter Chair Sarkis Simonian.
In addition to promoting efforts to ensure justice for the Armenian people globally, Senator Portantino has also been dedicated to producing results on issues of importance to local communities. Portantino’s leadership as Chair of the Senate Appropriations Committee resulted in the Armenian-American Museum securing an additional $3 million in state funding, and as Chair of the Budget Subcommittee on Education the Senator was able to secure $10 million in the 2017 to 2018 state budget to help fund the History/Social Science curriculum framework, which included curriculum to ensure that young Californians and the next generation of Californian leaders are educated on the Armenian Genocide. Portantino has also made a direct appeal to the California Department of Education to ensure all people have their history represented in California’s ethnic studies curriculum.
“Senator Portantino has been a strong advocate for our community in the state legislature and we’re proud to support his re-election campaign,” remarked ANCA Pasadena Chair Shoghig Yepremian.
On behalf of the ANCA-Crescenta Valley Chapter, chairperson Alice Chalian Manoukian, DDS added, “As our long-standing friend, neighbor, and trusted representative in Sacramento, we are proud to support Senator Portantino.“
The Armenian National Committee of America – Western Region is the largest and most influential nonpartisan Armenian American grassroots advocacy organization in the Western United States. Working in coordination with a network of offices, chapters, and supporters throughout the Western United States and affiliated organizations around the country, the ANCA-WR advances the concerns of the Armenian American community on a broad range of issues in pursuit of the Armenian Cause.