US presidential election: ANCA rep on office-seekers’ stands on issues of special concern to Armenian community

20:44 • 02.11.16



The Armenian National Committee of America (ANCA) tracks the policy and political records of all presidential candidates, including both the Clinton-Kaine Democratic ticket and the Trump-Pence Republican ticket - to help ensure that the Armenian community has comprehensive and reliable information about where the office-seekers stand on issues of special concern to the community, Elizabeth S. Chouldjian, Communications Director, ANCA Washington, DC Office Staff, told Tert.am.

“We are just as thorough on U.S. Senate and House candidates, issuing ANCA Report Cards detailing their support,” she said.

In the case of the Democratic ticket, Secretary Clinton has had a mixed record on Armenian American issues - particularly regarding her stance on the Armenian Genocide. As a Senator, she was a cosponsor of Armenian Genocide legislation - and pledged to continue that support in 2008, when she issued a Presidential campaign statement pledging support for a broad array of community concerns, Ms Chouldjian said.



As Secretary of State under the Obama Administration, she was a lead proponent of the deeply flawed Turkey-Armenia Protocols, and later, during a State Department town hall meeting, mischaracterized the Armenian Genocide as a "historical debate." While on an official visit to Armenia, Secretary Clinton did visit Dzidzernagapert, although she later claimed that the visite was in her "personal capacity."

Her Vice-Presidential pick, Senator Kaine, was supportive of Armenian Genocide commemoration efforts as both Richmond Mayor and Commonwealth Governor. As Senator, he voted, in 2014, in support of Armenian Genocide legislation in the Senate Foreign Relations Committee - only after taking a lead role in weakening the language in the measure, Ms Chouldjian said.



On the Republican side, Mr. Trump has little or no direct record on Armenian American concerns. His business interests in Azerbaijan have been linked to Anar Mammadov, the son of Azerbaijan's Transportation Minister, who was among the founders of the Azerbaijan America Alliance, which lead a multi-million dollar lobbying campaign against Armenian concerns in the United States.



Mr. Trump's Vice-Presidential running mate, Gov. Mike Pence, has a mixed record himself. As a U.S. House member, he was initially supportive of Armenian Genocide legislation, but later voted against the measure, acknowledging the genocide but citing Turkey's close alliance to the U.S.



All of this information - in greater detail - is posted on the ANCA website - https://anca.org/anca-presidential-candidate-overview-2016/ - for all to review as they prepare to cast ballots on November 8th.

This has been, by all accounts, an unprecedented presidential election cycle, with many voters across the U.S. frustrated with the process, the candidates, and the lack of serious and detailed attention to the public policy issues facing the nation.

“We have, in this environment, seen a particularly robust focus by the Armenian American community on U.S. Senate and House elections, as well as state and local races. The ANCA has endorsed over 120 candidates for Congress, from over 30 states - the widest range of endorsements we have ever issued. That is a direct result of the expansion of Armenian American grassroots advocacy in states like Colorado, Washington, Utah, Idaho, Ohio, Tennessee, Kentucky, Georgia, the Carolinas among many others, where we have growing constituencies who are making their voices heard in support Armenian American issues,” Ms Chouldjian said.

“On November 8th, with so much of the world focusing on the presidential election results, we will also be closely tracking Senate and House races, with an eye toward our continued efforts to advance Armenian American priorities on Artsakh, Armenia and the Armenian Genocide. We look forward to the return of many friends - Republican and Democrat - such as Republican Senator Mark Kirk and Representative Bob Dold from Illinois, and Democrats like Senate Candidate Chris Van Hollen from Maryland and Central Valley, California's Rep. Jim Costa and David Valadao.

“We have, of course, three Armenian Americans running for U.S. House - Representatives Anna Eshoo and Jackie Speier from California, who are seeking re-election, and Danny Tarkanian who is running for an open House seat in the Nevada's 3rd District. Overall, there are 17 Armenian Americans running for various positions on the federal, state and local level,” she added.


Elizabeth S. Chouldjian, Communications Director, ANCA Washington, DC Office Staff

The ANCA has chosen not to endorse in the Presidential elections in 2016.

“After a careful review by ANCA stakeholders at the national, regional, and local levels, we concluded that neither candidate earned our endorsement for their support on policy priorities of special concern to our community, notably freedom for Artsakh, justice for the Armenian Genocide, and stronger US-Armenia relations.

“Since announcing that decision, we have heard from community members from across the political spectrum - with the overwhelming majority supporting our position and a handful of energetic voices on both sides wishing that we had backed their preferred candidate.

“We respect the fact that Americans of Armenian origin - and, for that matter, of any heritage - reflecting the broad diversity of American life, weigh a variety of factors when deciding which candidates to support. With this in mind, we offer reliable information about candidates and our carefully considered recommendations to help inform pro-Armenian voters, who thoughtfully factor Armenian issues into the diverse set of domestic and foreign priorities that hold meaning for them and their families,” Ms Chouldjian concluded.

Hripsime Hovhannisyan





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