Asks voters to evaluate him on years of community service and leadership
LOS ANGELES—Rostom Sarkissian has announced his candidacy for the Los Angeles City Council Fourth District, a seat long held by the retiring Councilmember Tom LaBonge. Sarkissian has said he is running for Los Angeles City Council to be the community’s voice at City Hall. If elected, he will focus on policy, not politics.
Sarkissian is a dedicated family man, who is grounded in deep Los Angeles roots. As an 8-year-old boy scout growing up in Hollywood, Sarkissian attended Ramona Elementary School where he returned many years later to work on the Measure K School Bond that has repaired hundreds of schools and built dozens of new ones across Los Angeles. One of those new schools, Kingsley Elementary, replaced the corner liquor store in his neighborhood.
“I never dreamed that I would come back to Hollywood and be able to do what we did. To be part of an effort that turned a liquor store into an elementary school is rewarding beyond words,” said Rostom Sarkissian. “This is the type of policies that I want to pursue, and I can’t do it without the support of our community on March 3.”
Sarkissian earned a Master’s degree in Public Policy from Harvard’s Kennedy School of Government and a Bachelor’s degree in Diplomacy and World Affairs from Occidental College. He was twice awarded the Richter Scholarship for international research in Armenia, including his undergraduate thesis on Javakhk, which has been cited in numerous European publications about Javakhk. He was selected as a Coro Fellow from Los Angeles and was a United Nations Intern in 2001.
For the past 20 years, Sarkissian has worked with many amazing individuals and organizations — across the political spectrum — on a range of issues affecting the Armenian community, from youth mentorship programming for at-risk youth to the political empowerment movements throughout LA County in the 2000’s to the recognition of the Armenian Genocide at the state, federal and international levels.
He is proudest of his part in the 2011 “Recognition and Resurrection” campaign to commemorate the Armenian Genocide, which took place on the very rare occasion of when the Eastern and Western celebrations for Easter were on April 24. This had not occurred for 150 years, and will not occur again for the better part of this century. Millions of Christian faithful around the world remembered the victims of the Armenian Genocide during their Easter services.
The Armenian community spoke with one voice, and commemorated the rebirth of the Armenian Nation from the ashes of Genocide, on the day symbolizing the resurrection of Christ — Easter Sunday. Later that year, the House Foreign Affairs Committee passed a “Return of Churches Resolution” on a 43-1 vote, an unthinkable margin given the number of pro-Turkey lawmakers on that Committee.
“The Resurrection and Recognition campaign shaped the discussion of the Armenian Genocide on a global scale in the Armenian Community, but it was sparked here in Los Angeles” said Sarkissian. “On April 24, 2011, our community not only mourned the souls that we lost, but also celebrated the continued rebirth of the Armenian Nation through those who survived. It was a powerful message that we will continue to thrive.”
Sarkissian is a small business owner and has spent the last six years working with local nonprofits in developing and writing grants, providing marketing consulting for small business owners, and working to elect Community focused leaders across LA County. He has worked on campaigns across the country, including the Oregon, Colorado, and Florida campaigns for Barack Obama and John Kerry for President.
Sarkissian is a native speaker of Armenian, and is also proficient in Spanish. He married his wife, Lilit, in 2013. She worked as a labor and delivery nurse at Cedars Sinai until the birth of their daughter, Anush, who was born on September 11, 2014. The family lives in Sherman Oaks.
City Council District 4 comprises Los Feliz, Hollywood, Sherman Oaks, Silver Lake, Toluca Lake, Larchmont, Hancock Park, and Miracle Mile. The incumbent councilmember, Tom Labonge, is termed out this year. There are 14 candidates in the race, and Sarkissian is the only Armenian-American candidate. The primary election will take place on Tuesday, March 3, 2015.