BEVERLY HILLS, CA — Reaffirming its pledge to meet with all Presidential candidate, the Armenian National Committee of America-Western Region (ANCA-WR) representatives discussed various issues of concern and interest to Armenian-American voters with Senator John Kerry (D-MA), during a reception in Beverly Hills.
Meeting with ANCA-WR Government Relations Director Ardashes Kassakhian and ANC activist Mihran Toumajan, the Senator acknowledged the support of many Armenian-Americans during his political career. On the issue of Senate Resolution 164, that specifically references the Armenian Genocide, the Senator pledged continued support.
“It is called Justice, and we will get there together,” pledged Senator Kerry. “I was incensed when the Turkish lobby and its allies disrupted the bill in the Senate before,” Kerry added. Mihran Toumajan thanked the Senator for this steadfast support of Armenian-American issues during his tenure in the Senate.
During the public question-answer session, Kassakhian reminded the Senator that Armenian-Americans still bear the wounds of the Armenian Genocide as a result of the Turkish Governments proactive campaign of denial and the reluctance of the last three Presidents to unequivocally acknowledge the historical facts. He asked the Senator how he would ensure that such crimes as the Armenian Genocide would not be repeated and perpetrators of such crimes will be brought to justice.
Senator Kerry highlighted his active role–as a ranking member of the Senate Foreign Relations Sub-Committee on Asia and the Pacific–in drawing attention to human rights violations around the world, particularly in Cambodia. The Senator criticized President George W. Bush’s administration for its “neglect of human rights and civil rights.”
“The ANC encourages voters to find out what the candidates’ positions are on the important issues that matter to Armenian-Americans before making any decision,” stated Ardashes Kassakhian. “We have a right, as Americans, to know where our leaders stand on issues such as support for Genocide recognition, aid to Armenia and Artsakh, and overall improvement of our quality of life. I am glad Senator Kerry met with us and reaffirmed his support for Senate Resolution 164,” he added.
The 59 year-old Senator officially announced his candidacy for the Democratic Party nomination for President on September 2, 2003 in South Carolina, but was considered a candidate long before his official announcement.
First elected in 1984, Kerry is currently serving a fourth term in the US Senate where he represents Massachusetts, home to one of the largest Armenian-American communities in the US. He serves on the Senate Finance Committee, the Committee on Commerce, Science and Transportation, the Committee on International Relations and subcommittee on Central Asia and South Caucuses, and is the ranking member on the Committee for Small Business and Entrepreneurship.