May 16, 2018
For Immediate Release
Contact: Dickran Khodanian
tel. (818) 500-1918

ANCA-WR Endorses Gavin Newsom for California Governor

GLENDALE—The Armenian National Committee of America – Western Region announced this week its endorsement of Lieutenant Governor Gavin Newsom to be the next Governor of the State of California. “I thank the ANCA-WR for its confidence in me and endorsement of my candidacy to be the next governor of California,” stated Newsom, “I have valued my relationship with the Armenian-American community over the past two decades, from my days working with the small but vibrant San Francisco community, and for the past eight years, with the largest diasporan community in the world across our great state,” he continued.

“On June 5th, we strongly urge all Armenian-Americans in California to vote for Gavin Newsom as our next Governor. Throughout his political career, he has been a true friend of the Armenian community, supporting many of our efforts and listening closely to our concerns,” said Nora Hovsepian, Chair of the ANCA-WR Board of Directors. “The depth of his commitment and understanding of issues important to our community were demonstrated last month, when he publicly called for divestment of public funds from the Turkish Government and voiced his strong support for the Divest Turkey initiative, one of our key legislative priorities,” noted Hovsepian.

As one of the featured speakers at the rally in front of the Consulate General of Turkey in Los Angeles on Tuesday, April 24, Lieutenant Governor Newsom delivered a powerful message to the state and to the Turkish government, calling unequivocally, for divestment at the University of California and CalPERS.

Lieutenant Governor Newsom has had a long history with the Armenian-American community in his native San Francisco, and has been a strong supporter of its issues beginning with his days as a San Francisco Supervisor, then as Mayor of the City following his election in 2003, and as Lieutenant Governor for the past eight years.

The announcement of his endorsement was made following his May 13 meeting with representatives of the ANCA-WR in Southern California. During the course of that meeting, Newsom expressed encouragement regarding the recent peaceful transition in the Armenian government, stating “The response to the populist call for reform and greater democracy and transparency is to be congratulated, and among the many positive consequences is the prospect that it could help promote increased trade and interaction between the State of California, Armenia and Artsakh.”

Last August, in San Francisco, Lieutenant Governor Gavin Newsom had met with ANCA leadership, comprised of a delegation of ANCA-WR board members as well as representatives of the ANCA-SF Bay Area. It was a follow-up to a meeting between Newsom and the SF local chapter board two weeks earlier.

During the meeting, Newsom expressed particular interest in opportunities to further develop economic ties between the State of California and the Republic of Armenia and was wholeheartedly in support of reestablishing a California trade office in Yerevan. His background as a successful businessman with interests in the wine industry and as a restaurant owner, in conjunction with having been a political leader in the IT capital of the world, contributes to his solid understanding of the benefits of economic development on the quality of life.

Also discussed were the recent divestment efforts from the University of California’s holdings in the government of Turkey which was initiated by the AYF and members of the ASAs on the nine undergraduate UC campuses, and from two major public pension funds–CalPERS and CalSTRS–at the initiative of the ANCA-WR. Assemblymember Adrin Nazarian has championed the issue in the California State Legislature, and the bill which he introduced–AB 1597–was passed unanimously by the State Assembly last year and is currently pending before the State Senate.

Further demonstrating his support for the community, earlier in 2017, Newsom enthusiastically endorsed his support for Karo Torossian in LA’s City Council District 7 race.

Previously, Gavin Newsom had met with His Holiness Catholicos Aram I during recent Pontifical visits on two occasions, hosting him in 2005 at San Francisco City Hall when he was mayor of the city, and again in 2011 as Lieutenant Governor. A close rapport was established between the two leaders from the first moment, as they discussed a host of social, religious and political issues.

Whether on the issue of justice for the Armenian Genocide, or other issues of importance to the Armenian-American community, Newsom has never forsaken his principles, and always stood firmly in support of human rights and justice for crimes against humanity, even if on occasion, it may have put him at odds with his friends and supporters.

Mayor Newsom was appointed to the San Francisco Board of Supervisors in 1997, representing District 2. He was first elected Mayor of San Francisco in 2003 and was reelected to a second term in 2007. The ANCA-WR endorsed Gavin Newsom based on his long and faithful record of public service and his steadfast support of issues of concern to Armenian-Americans. Ever since his tenure on the San Francisco Board of Supervisors, Newsom has held an open door policy toward his constituents, carrying their message to City Hall.

As supervisor, Newsom supported the sale of the Mount Davidson Cross to the Council of Armenian-American Organizations of Northern California who preserved the landmark and installed a bronze plaque at the base honoring the victims of the Armenian Genocide.

“The fact that the Lieutenant Governor has always been receptive to the relatively small Armenian-American community in San Francisco, and has never hesitated to lend his support, is a testament to his genuine connection and desire to support issues of importance to us,” stated ANCA – SF Bay Area representative Haig Baghdassarian, “and he has definitely earned the endorsement of our organization and the support of our community to be our next governor.”

To learn more about Newsom and his campaign, please visit https://www.gavinnewsom.com.

The Armenian National Committee of America-Western Region is the largest and most influential Armenian-American grassroots advocacy organization in the Western United States. Working in coordination with a network of offices, chapters, and supporters throughout the Western United States and affiliated organizations around the country, the ANCA-WR advances the concerns of the Armenian-American community on a broad range of issues.