LOS ANGELES–The Armenian National Committee-Western Region (ANC-WR) will be honoring Los Angeles Mayor Antonio Villaraigosa with its highest honor, the prestigious ANC-WR Man of the Year Award this fall. The honor will be bestowed upon Mayor Villaraigosa at the organization’s annual banquet on October 12, 2008 at the Ronald Reagan Presidential Library in Simi Valley, California.
"Mayor Villaraigosa is a true Hai Tahd leader," commented ANC-WR Executive Director Andrew Kzirian. "The Mayor of Los Angeles has demonstrated, time and time again, his tireless and energized support and leadership on issues that matter to Armenian Americans," he added.
As Mayor of Los Angeles, Villaraigosa has repeatedly demonstrated his steadfast support for the Armenian community. In 2007, at the urging and support of the Mayor, the Los Angeles City Council passed a resolution calling on the House of Representatives to pass H. Res. 106. Also in that same year, Mayor Villaraigosa received a series of denialist publications from the Turkish Consul General of Los Angeles and a letter which sought to pressure the Mayor to not support Armenian Genocide recognition efforts. In response, Mayor Villaraigosa donated the books to the ANC-WR for educational purposes along with a letter to the Turkish Consul General reiterating his support for Armenian Genocide recognition.
Mayor Antonio Villaraigosa is known for his exceptional skill at building broad bipartisan coalitions and is considered one of the leading voices in the country on finding solutions to urban problems such as education, transportation, public safety, economic development and ethics. In 1994, Villaraigosa was elected to the California State Assembly; four years later, his colleagues elected him the first Assembly Speaker from Los Angeles in 25 years.
During his tenure in the State Assembly, Villaraigosa was a consistent supporter of Armenian Genocide recognition resolutions and other bills of importance to the Armenian community. After serving as Speaker, Villaraigosa championed official recognition of the Armenian Genocide as a Member of the Los Angeles City Council and sponsored efforts to create a Los Angeles – Yerevan Sister City relationship. While a Councilmember, Villaraigosa was selected by then Democratic Presidential Nominee Senator John Kerry to chair the Democratic Party Platform Committee. While serving as Chair of the Platform Committee, Villaraigosa spearheaded an effort to include Armenian Genocide recognition language and Nagorno-Karabakh self-determination language in the Platform.
Individuals interested in attending the ANC-Western Region banquet are encouraged to contact ANC-WR Banquet Coordinator Aida Dimejian at (818) 500-1918 or visit www.itsmyseat.com to purchase tickets. The banquet is slated to begin at 5:30 p.m. Organizers of this event expect that it will be sold out well before September 15th.
The Armenian National Committee – Western Region is the largest and most influential 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 ANC-WR advances the concerns of the Armenian American community on a broad range of issues.