GLENDALE – The Armenian National Committee of America-Western Region will be honoring California State Senator Anthony J. Portantino with the prestigious ANCA-WR 2017 Legislator of the Year Award. Senator Portantino will be presented with the award at the annual banquet to take place on Sunday, October 8 at the Beverly Hilton Hotel in Beverly Hills, California.
“From his days as a California State Assemblymember, throughout his campaign for State Senate, and consistently since his election, Senator Anthony Portantino has been a genuine and sincere friend to the Armenian-American community, not just through his words, but through his actions. He has successfully transformed ideas into tangible results and has created practical solutions to address the needs of the Armenian people not just in the 25th Senate District or California, but even in Armenia and Artsakh. We are truly grateful to Senator Portantino and are proud to recognize and honor him with this year’s Legislator of the Year Award,” remarked ANCA-WR Chair Nora Hovsepian.
Senator Portantino was elected on November 8, 2016, to represent California’s 25th State Senate District, which includes Sunland/Tujunga, Atwater Village, the Griffith Park areas of the City of Los Angeles, Burbank, Glendale, La Crescenta, Montrose, La Cañada-Flintridge, Pasadena, Altadena, South Pasadena, San Marino, Sierra Madre, Monrovia, Bradbury, Duarte, Glendora, San Dimas, La Verne, Claremont, and Upland.
Prior to his term as a California State Senator, Senator Portantino represented the 44th Assembly District from 2006–2012. Before his time in the Assembly, Senator Portantino spent many years working in film and television production. Senator Portantino has a long and distinguished record of serving his local community. He spent 8 years on the La Cañada-Flintridge City Council, with two terms as Mayor.
Since taking office, Senator Portantino has worked tirelessly to advocate for Armenian issues. During his short time in Senate he has spearheaded the establishment of an historic Senate Select Committee on California, Armenia, and Artsakh Mutual Trade, Art, and Cultural Exchange. The goal of the committee is to expand business opportunities through trade, economic development, cultural awareness, and education between California, Armenia, and Artsakh. This committee will serve to raise the profile of California’s Armenian-American community within the State Legislature.
Because of the leadership of Senator Portantino the Armenian-American Museum was able to secure an additional $3 million of funding from the State of California. The commitment of these funds by the State of California is an important step in ensuring the idea of the Armenian-American Museum becomes a reality.
As the Chair of the Budget Subcommittee on Education, Senator Portantino put in a request for funding of the genocide curriculum update implementation. After long negotiations and thanks to the unwavering support of Senator Portantino, $10 million dollars was secured and included in the 2017–2018 state budget to fund the History/Social Science curriculum framework. Educating young Californians on the Armenian Genocide assures the next generation of Californian leaders is knowledgeable of the atrocities that took place 102 years ago.
“This is a tremendous honor and I am delighted to have been selected by my friends in the ANCA. For me, there is nothing better than to work closely with grassroots activists in my district to serve our state. And, I can think of no better grassroots activist organization than the ANCA-Western Region. California and the 25th Senate District benefit because of the strong and positive community and California spirit exhibited daily by the ANCA and its many community minded members,” stated Senator Portantino.
Senator Portantino is working to install a sign at the Fair Oaks Avenue exit off Interstate 210. The sign will direct the public to the Pasadena Armenian Genocide Memorial. Likewise, in March 2017, Senator Portantino introduced Resolution 29 designating the month of April for commemoration of the Armenian Genocide and calling on the Republic of Turkey to return confiscated church properties to their rightful congregations.
Senator Portantino’s support and commitment to the Armenian Cause has been unwavering. He has shown his community how he will not only listen to their concerns but how he will take action to resolve them. He is a beacon of hope for the future of Armenian Americans. His interest in issues concerning the Armenian community could serve to influence politicians all over the country to start taking interest in them as well. For all that Senator Portantino has done and continues to do, he is a deserving recipient of the ANCA-WR Legislator of the Year Award.
Individuals interested in attending the banquet are encouraged to contact the ANCA-WR office at (818) 500-1918.The ANCA-WR Gala Banquet represents the single largest annual gathering of Armenian American public policy leaders throughout the western United States, and is attended by over 1,000 prominent Members of Congress, state legislators and officials, community leaders, and many of the organization’s strongest activists and generous donors from California, Nevada, Arizona, and throughout the western United States.
The Armenian National Committee of America-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 ANCA-WR advances the concerns of the Armenian-American community on a broad range of issues.