May 26, 2010
For Immediate Release
Contact: Lerna Kayserian Shirinian
tel: (818) 500-1918

CONGRESSIONAL CANDIDATE KAREN BASS PLEDGES TO STAND IN STRONG SUPPORT OF ARMENIAN AMERICAN ISSUES

HOLLYWOOD, CA – 33rd Congressional District Democratic Candidate Karen Bass (D) pledged to stand strong in support of issues of concern to the Armenian American community during a May 22nd meeting with representatives of the Armenian National Committee of America Hollywood Chapter and the Armenian National Committee of America – Western Region (ANCA-WR).

Speaker Bass pledged to fight for justice for the Armenian Genocide and support legislation that advances proper recognition and commemoration of this crime against humanity. She expressed interest to serve on the House Foreign Affairs Committee if elected to office, where she would have the opportunity to influence legislation such as the Armenian Genocide Resolution and other issues of concern to the Armenian American community. Speaker Bass conveyed that she is eager to learn more about how to expand US-Armenia relations and increase aid to Armenia and Nagorno-Karabagh, among other federal issues. Locally, Speaker Bass stressed the importance of building a close relationship with the Armenian American community and providing accessibility to community.

“We are impressed by Speaker Bass’ commitment to learning about and taking the lead on issues that Armenian-Americans care about,” said Rostom Sarkissian, Chairman of the ANCA Hollywood Chapter. “She has a history of fighting for justice – whether it was against the Apartheid regime in South Africa in the ’80s or for Armenian Genocide recognition while she served in the California State Assembly. If elected to Congress, we believe she would continue in the footsteps of Congresswoman Watson and be a leader that Armenian Americans of the 33rd Congressional District will be proud of.”

Karen Bass was elected to the California State Assembly in 2004 to represent the 47th Assembly District. In May 2008, Bass made history when the Los Angeles Democrat became the 67th Speaker of the California Assembly. She became the first African American woman and the first Democratic woman to serve as Speaker of the California Assembly, as well as the first African American woman in the country to serve in the role of Speaker of a state Assembly. During her tenure in the Assembly, Speaker Bass has continuously supported legislation related to Armenian American issues and participated in the annual Armenian Genocide Commemorations in the State Legislature.

Before Speaker Bass began her political career, she was a community organizer who founded and became the executive director of Community Coalition, a community-based social justice organization in South Los Angeles. Prior to her community organizing, Bass worked for almost a decade as a Physician Assistant and served as a Clinical Instructor at the USC Keck School of Medicine Physician Assistant Program. Speaker Bass currently represents Culver City, West Los Angeles, Westwood, Cheviot Hills, Leimert Park, Baldwin Hills, Windsor Hills, Ladera Heights, the Crenshaw District, Little Ethiopia and portions of Korea Town and South Los Angeles. If elected to represent the 33rd CD, Speaker Bass would represent one of California’s most ethnically diverse Congressional Districts. The 33rd CD is located entirely within Los Angeles County and includes the communities of Koreatown, Hancock Park, the Wilshire corridor and the Miracle Mile district, Little Armenia, Hollywood, Los Feliz and Silver Lake, Baldwin Hills, Ladera Heights, Mid-Wilshire, View Park, and Windsor Hills.

The primary elections for the 33rd Congressional district will be held on June 8th. The winners from both parties in this election will continue to the November 3rd General Election.

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.

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Photo caption: Speaker Emeritus Karen Bass with representatives of the ANCA-WR and ANCA Hollywood Chapter.