The Board of Directors of the Armenian National Committee of America – Western Region welcomes the results of 2012 United States General Election and congratulates the winners, among them longtime friends, and new ones, elected to federal, state, and local offices around the country.
In our region in particular, we proudly welcome our newest California State Assemblymembers Adrin Nazarian and Scott Wilk and look forward to a long and productive relationship with both their offices. We also look forward to continuing our joint efforts with U.S. Senator Dianne Feinstein, Congressional Armenian Caucus Co-Chair Ed Royce, and Congressmen Adam Schiff and Brad Sherman, both of whom so ably represent large segment of California Armenian-American community.
Likewise, the ANCA-WR commends those candidates who were not successful in their campaigns, especially Congressman Howard Berman, candidate for State Assembly Greg Krikorian, and candidate for Los Angeles County District Attorney Alan Jackson. Despite the outcome of their races, the ANCA-WR looks forward to continuing its relationship with these upstanding and hardworking public servants.
Most heartening about this election cycle was the outpouring of Armenian-American political activity and engagement, a cornerstone of the Hye Votes program initiated by the ANCA-WR. Since the program’s inception in the spring of 2012, numerous ANCA local chapters, a dedicated staff, dozens of community organizations, hundreds of volunteers, and thousands of new voters contributed to galvanizing Armenian-Americans as one of the most vibrant voting communities in the United States.
One example of the strength of the Armenian-American vote was in the race of Greg Krikorian, who was endorsed by the ANCA-WR. Although Krikorian lost, he garnered a higher percentage and number of votes than the two previous Republican candidates for the same Assembly seat in a district which traditionally leans heavily Democratic. The higher voter registration and subsequent voter turnout led by Hye Votes undoubtedly contributed to the tighter margins in the race for the 43rd Assembly District seat and that participation will surely multiply exponentially in future elections.
Despite the incredible volunteer effort to register and get Armenian-Americans to vote, the ANCA-WR was gravely disappointed to see the excitement of Election Day marred by concerted attempts, including those by members of Mike Gatto’s staff, at voter intimidation and disenfranchisement, especially as it came on the heels of deceptive announcements from the campaign. In the most common case, Hye Votes volunteers at polling locations throughout the district – there to monitor the polls and assist voters with a language barrier who requested help – were continually ostracized and frivolous complaints were lodged with the L.A. County Registrar. All of the complaints were resoundingly dismissed after investigation.
Given the success of Hye Votes and its experience on Election Day 2012, the ANCA-WR will be redoubling its efforts to activate the Armenian-American voter base and ensure that not a single Armenian-American vote is suppressed through efforts to stymie voter empowerment. We welcome the leaders of both the Democratic Party and Republican Party to join the ANCA-WR in working toward the prized goal of any democracy: a fully engaged and participant electorate.
Emboldened by the familiar resilience and tenacity of our community, the ANCA-WR will build upon its strong foundation of political involvement and grassroots activism as the Armenian-American community continues its march for justice and the realization of the Armenian Cause.
To that end, we encourage our community to join us in Sacramento on Advocacy Day in April, to fully participate in the upcoming municipal elections in Los Angeles, Pasadena, Glendale, and Burbank, to support our supporters while simultaneously holding them accountable, and to maintain a level of vigilance of our common Cause.