March 13, 2007
For Immediate Release
Contact: Rafael Saakyan
tel: (818) 500-1918

OREGON AND WASHINGTON COMMUNITIES MEET WITH U.S. REPRESENTATIVES HOOLEY AND BAIRD

Portland, OR – In coordination with the ANCA-WR POWER initiative, members of the greater Portland-area and southwestern Washington State communities held meetings with the district offices of Congresswoman Darlene Hooley (OR-05-D) and Congressman Brian Baird (WA-03-D) on March 7, 2007 to ask the representatives to cosponsor H.Res.106, the Armenian Genocide resolution that was introduced in the House of Representatives earlier this year. Organized by ANC of Oregon Chairman Rafael Saakyan, the meetings were also aimed at continuing to strengthen local grassroots relationships with each Representative.

Saakyan was joined by activist David Tufenkian as well as Armenian Community of Oregon Vice President Ed Shabanian for a meeting with Congressional Staffer Jen Wagner at Rep. Hooley’s West Linn district office. Wagner had met with Saakyan along with Armenian Apostolic Church of Portland Parish Council Chairman Kevork Parseghian and ANCA-Western Region Community Relations Director Haig Hovsepian previously during which they had discussed many issues of concern to the Oregon Armenian community, including the Armenian Genocide resolution from the previous Congress. Wagner noted the Congresswoman’s interest in the current resolution and encouraged the ANC of Oregon to continue its efforts to bring this constituent concern to the Congresswoman’s attention.

Later that afternoon, Saakyan joined southwestern Washington residents John Coutsoubos, Arthur Lazaretyan, Mike Kazanjian, as well as Mr. and Mrs. Petros Bournelis for a meeting with Rep. Baird’s District Director, Kelly Love. Love thanked the Congressman’s constituents for bringing the issue to her attention and welcomed them to continue to work with the ANC at the local, regional, and national levels regarding Rep. Baird’s support for the resolution.

As a direct result of these key constituent meetings and relationships, Representative Baird has agreed to cosponsor the Armenian Genocide resolution, bringing the total number of co-sponsors to 184.

“We wanted to make sure our elected officials were aware of the significance of this resolution and why it was important to support it,” said Saakyan. “This resolution sends a clear message that our Congress has the strength to acknowledge the Armenian Genocide and provide the moral foundation to help us fight the continuing specter of genocide that confronts us today in Darfur.”

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

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PHOTO CAPTION: Saakyan, Parseghian and Hovsepian meet with Jen Wagner at Congresswoman Darlene Hooley’s West Linn district office this past August. Wagner met with Saakyan and Congresswoman Hooley’s constituents on March 7, 2007 to discuss H.Res.106.