October 31, 2003
For Immediate Release
Contact: Ardashes Kassakhian
tel: (818) 500-1918

ANCA-WR TO HONOR CALIFORNIA STATE TREASURER PHIL ANGELIDES AS “CALIFORNIA PUBLIC OFFICIAL OF THE YEAR”

Los Angeles, CA – California State Treasurer Phil Angelides will be the recipient of the “ANC California Public Official of the Year” Award to be presented at the Armenian National Committee of America – Western Region’s (ANCA-WR) Annual Banquet. The ANCA-WR Banquet is the most prestigious Armenian-American grassroots public affairs event held in the Western United States.

Mr. Angelides was elected to serve California as State Treasurer in 1998. During his tenure in office, he has been a champion for human rights, particularly in regard to defending the historical record of the Armenian Genocide. In July of 2003, Mr. Angiledes expressed extreme outrage regarding a statement by George Will in a column called “The Last Word” in Newsweek, where Will wrote, “Californians need an Ataturk.” Mr. Angelides responded immediately to this statement by demanding an apology, not only to the families of the innocent people that were brutally murdered under Ataturk’s rule, but to the people of California for implying that a democratic state like California actually needs an atrocious murderer to govern over its people.

Mr. Angelides deemed this statement highly offensive since Mustafa Kemal Ataturk’s forces were responsible for “the murderous campaign of ethnic cleansing against Greeks and Armenians” in the early part of the century. In addition to the letter, Mr. Angeledes attached statements from world leaders instigating the horrors carried out by Turkey during these mass murders, along with a table outlining the statistical information on the millions of Armenians and Greeks murdered during the genocide.

In 1997, Mr. Angeledes again took the lead in addressing an issues dealing with the denial of the Armenian Genocide. He challenged the California Public Employees Retirement System, (CalPERS), regarding their interests in holding investments in Turkey. He assessed that “Turkey’s human rights violations, aggressive military posture, and political instability,” were a clear threat to the growth of its economy. Furthermore, he was able to successfully lead an effort to deny a $30,000 contract with a firm that overtly dishonored the 1.5 million Armenians who died during the Armenian Genocide, stating that “we can never forget atrocities like those committed against the Armenians in the early part of the century.”

Mr. Angelides, 50, is a graduate of Harvard University and a Coro Foundation Fellow. He served from 1975 to 1983 in California government and was Chairman of the California Democratic Party during the 1992 elections.

Mr. Angelides will be honored at this year’s ANCA- WR Annual Banquet, which draws over 700 ANC activists and public officials from all over the Western United States. The Annual Banquet will be held on November 9th at the Universal City Sheraton. To purchase a table or tickets for the ANCA-WR Banquet or for any other banquet related questions, please contact Kris Demirdjian at the ANCA-WR offices – (818) 500-1918.

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