Armenian Assembly Advocacy Yields Results, Welcomes New Members to Armenian Caucus
WASHINGTON, D.C. – As Congress returned to Washington, D.C. this month, the Armenian Assembly of America (Assembly) held over 30 meetings with Congressional offices and Members, thanking friends, discussing key issues, and adding more Members to the Congressional Caucus on Armenian Issues.
The Assembly is pleased to welcome Representatives Ken Buck (R-CO), Joe Kennedy III (D-MA), and Grace Meng (D-NY) as the latest Members to join the Armenian Caucus. Last month, Reps. Ruben Gallego (D-AZ), and Anthony Brown (D-MD) also joined the Caucus as a result of the Assembly’s efforts to expand the Caucus, thus bringing the total as we start 2018 to 117 Members.
“I’m proud to be joining the Congressional Armenian Caucus. I look forward to learning more about issues that impact the American-Armenian relationship and about ways to deepen ties between our two nations,” Rep. Buck told the Assembly.
Rep. Buck serves on the House Committee on Rules and House Judiciary Committee, as well as the Judiciary Subcommittees on Immigration and Border Security and Crime, Terrorism, Homeland Security and Investigations. Last Congress, he also co-sponsored H.Res.220 and H.Res.154, affirming the Armenian Genocide.
“I am proud to join the Congressional Armenian Caucus. New York is home to many Armenian Americans and I am honored to represent a strong and vibrant Armenian American community in my district in Queens. I look forward to serving on the Caucus,” Rep. Meng told the Assembly.
Having previously served on the House Foreign Affairs Committee, Rep. Meng now serves on the House Appropriations Committee and its Subcommittees on State, Foreign Operations, and Related Programs as well as Commerce, Justice, and Science. She represents the Sixth Congressional District of New York, which includes the Armenian Church of the Holy Martyrs in Bayside (Queens). Just this month, Community Board 11 in her district voted unanimously to change the name of the street behind Holy Martyrs to “Armenia Way” to honor the Armenians in Bayside. In addition to co-sponsoring H.Res.220, the Congresswoman supported other Armenian Genocide legislation, including H.Res.154 in the 114th Congress and H.Res.227 in the 113th Congress. She also co-sponsored H.R.4347, “Turkey Christian Churches Accountability Act,” in the 113th Congress.
Rep. Kennedy is a member of the House Energy & Commerce Committee, and represents Massachusetts’ 4th Congressional District, near Boston. In 2015, he signed the Royce-Engel Letter, which urged the U.S. and OSCE to “publicly condemn specific acts of aggression along the line of contact” initiated by Azerbaijan, against Artsakh. The letter called for “a few common sense steps for the U.S. and the Minsk Group to take to deter further violence. Specifically, the call for all parties to withdraw snipers, and the proposal to deploy OSCE monitors and equip them with gunfire locator systems, provides tools to increase transparency and accountability for each and every cross-boundary violation.”
Rep. Gallego represents Arizona’s Seventh Congressional District, which includes portions of Phoenix. His district is located near St. Apkar Armenian Apostolic Church in Scottsdale, where Assembly Western Region Director Mihran Toumajan participated in its “Armenia Fest” this past November. Assembly Executive Director Bryan Ardouny will present a Town Hall Briefing at St. Apkar Church on February 18.
“I’m proud to join the Armenian Caucus and share in the richness that the Armenian Community brings to the United States. I look forward to upholding and advocating for the Caucus’ commitment to the preservation of human and civil rights in Armenia, the United States, and around the world,” Rep. Gallego said to the Assembly.
Rep. Brown is part of the House Committee on Ethics, House Committee on Natural Resources, and House Armed Services Committee. He represents Maryland’s Fourth Congressional District, which is comprised of portions of Prince George’s County and Anne Arundel County near Washington, D.C.’s suburbs. Assembly Board Member Annie Totah and Executive Director Ardouny have spoken with Rep. Brown on numerous occasions on U.S.-Armenia and U.S.-Artsakh relations, and the importance of joining the Armenian Caucus.
“The Armenian Assembly looks forward to working with these new Members and with the leadership of the Armenian Caucus as we continue to strengthen U.S.-Armenia relations and confront Azerbaijan’s ongoing and deadly cease-fire violations,” stated Executive Director Bryan Ardouny. “In 2018, we will also continue to expand our network of State Chairs across the country and are also planning a National Advocacy Conference in Washington, D.C. later this year,” he added.
The Armenian Caucus was established in 1995 as an informal, bipartisan group of legislators dedicated to maintaining and strengthening the U.S.-Armenia relationship. The coordinated efforts of this diverse coalition of Congressional friends of Armenia and the Armenian American community help to raise greater awareness of Armenian American issues on Capitol Hill and unique and lasting bonds between the American and Armenian people.
The Congressional Caucus on Armenian Issues is currently Co-Chaired by Rep. Frank Pallone, Jr. (D-NJ), Rep. Jackie Speier (D-CA), Rep. David Trott (R-MI), and Rep. David Valadao (R-CA) with Vice Co-Chairs Rep. Adam Schiff (D-CA) and Gus Bilirakis (R-FL).
Established in 1972, the Armenian Assembly of America is the largest Washington-based nationwide organization promoting public understanding and awareness of Armenian issues. The Assembly is a non-partisan, 501(c)(3) tax-exempt membership organization.