LOS GATOS–Calif.–The Bay Area Armenian National Committee hosted a fundraising reception for State Assembly candidate–Joseph Simitian at the home of Ani and Shahe Yeni-Komshian of Los Gatos–Calif.. The reception served to provide Santa Clara County Armenian-Americans with a discussion with the candidate for State Assembly–as well as help raise funds for his campaign.
Roxanne Makasdjian introduced the candidate–reviewing his background as a contributing member of the Bay Area community for more than 30 years. He won his first election–for Student Body president–at Palo Alto High School in 1969. An attorney by profession–Supervisor Simitian received his Juris Doctor from Boalt Hall–UC Berkeley–and his Masters Degree in City Planning at UC Berkeley. He later served eight years on his local School Board and five on the City Council–including a term as Mayor. "We have seldom been as impressed–as hopeful–and as enthusiastic about a candidate–as with Joe," said Makasdjian.
Simitian has held his current job on the Santa Clara County Board of Supervisors since 1996–and has gained high praise for working to improve the school system–health and human’services–and to build accountability in local government. An editorial in the San Jose Mercury News recently said–"With Supervisor Joe Simitian stepping down to run for the state Assembly–Santa Clara Country’s board is losing its best analytical mind. Simitian–a maverick–will be a tough act to follow."
Bay Area Congresswoman Anna Eshoo also recently praised the candidate–"Joe Simitian is a superb thinker and a doer… And it makes him the kind of exceptional leader we need in public service."
Supervisor Simitian also has a keen interest in international affairs. He has represented the US as an elections observer in El Salvador and Bosnia–and has worked in Albania and Kosovo as an International Rescue Committee volunteer. He has been an outspoken supporter of Armenian Genocide recognition–annually introducing legislation to the Santa Clara Board of Supervisors commemorating the Armenian Genocide.
Simitian thanked the community for its support and discussed the difficulties facing campaigns in today’s era of big money and term limits. The 21st Assembly District for which he is running–is comprised of northern Santa Clara County which Simitian now represents (35 percent)–and an area in southern San Mateo County where he has not previously been elected (65 percent).
He said the challenge is raising the funds to be able to raise awareness about his candidacy for the voters who are unfamiliar with him.
Simitian spoke about education–transportation and housing as issues important to him. He also expressed strong interest in traveling to Armenia and working within the legislature to explore trade relationships with Armenia.