LOS ANGELES—The Steyer presidential campaign is announcing its Armenian-American senior and regional staff in California, continuing its commitment to building a talented team that is representative of our state’s diverse communities.
“We are excited to have Rostom Sarkissian and Astine Suleimanyan on TeamTom,” said Katie Vavao, the campaign’s California state director, who recruited both staffers. “Their years of experience on local and national campaigns, their leadership in the communities they have worked in, and their dedication to [the] Armenian-American community make them welcome additions to our team.”
Rostom Sarkissian is responsible for coordinating the political and field efforts across the State. He is a Los Angeles-based public affairs professional with 20 years of experience in political, issue, and advocacy campaigns in California and across the United States. Sarkissian worked on behalf of the Democratic presidential nominee in 2004, 2008, and 2012 in Oregon, Colorado, and Florida. He holds a Master’s Degree in Public Policy from Harvard University’s Kennedy School of Government and a Bachelor’s Degree in Diplomacy and World Affairs from Occidental College.
“I’m proud to work for a candidate who believes in social, economic, and environmental justice. Tom’s father was a part of the team that prosecuted the Nazis at Nuremberg, and his dad taught him ‘when you see something wrong, you fight it.’ That’s the type of leader we need in Washington,” stated Sarkissian.
Astine Suleimanyan will serve as the campaign’s deputy political director for the Inland Empire and labor liaison across the state. She has a decade of professional experience managing the diverse and complicated elements of electoral, legislative, and constituent campaigns for mission driven-organizations such as the American Civil Liberties Union, Service Employees International Union, California School Employees Association, and SEIU-United Long Term Care Workers.
“It is exciting to be part of this campaign. Tom Steyer has been an early and vocal advocate for addressing climate change and building a more just economy,” said Suleimanyan. “His justice-based approach to addressing race, the economy, and the environment speaks to my core as an activist, and his actual success as businessman will provide the best contrast to Trump’s failing administration.”
Tom Steyer left his successful investing business seven years ago to give his own money and all his time and energy to fighting for progressive causes. He soon became one of the country’s leading forces in registering more young voters and voters of color, fighting climate change, working for racial justice, and helping secure better lives for all Americans. Tom has led a number of people-first, grassroots campaigns that have repeatedly defeated powerful special interests, beating big oil to win clean air laws, forcing big tobacco to pay its share of healthcare costs, and closing a billion-dollar corporate tax loophole to fund public schools.
Tom and his wife Kat Taylor were early signers of the Giving Pledge, a commitment to give the bulk of his fortune to good causes before they die. Tom’s dedication to doing what is right comes from his parents. His father was a lawyer who prosecuted Nazis at the Nuremberg Trials; his mother was a journalist and teacher who volunteered to teach prisoners in New York City jails. Tom says his parents showed him the power of having the courage to do the right thing. Their greatest lesson, he says, was that our actions speak louder than our words – what we do is more important than what we say.