CHULA VISTA, CA — As part of the Armenian National Committee of America –Western Region’s 2002 Congressional Outreach Campaign, representatives of the organization’s western US office, accompanied by ANC-San Diego Chapter activists met with Representative Bob Filner of California’s 50th Congressional District last week to discuss key issues of interest to Armenian Americans during the current legislative session. Filner, who has been a strong supporter of Armenian American issues in Congress, confirmed his strong support for Genocide affirmation measures supported by the ANCA and the Armenian American community.
During the hour-long meeting, ANCA-WR representatives, Rep. Filner and his aid Willy Blair discussed in great detail the most pressing concerns of Armenian Americans, including the great disappointment of the community at the recent waiver of Section 907 by President George W. Bush, authorized by the US Congress. Rep. Filner agreed with the Armenian American activists that Section 907is necessary as long as Turkey continues its illegal blockade of humanitarian aid to Armenia and as long as Azerbaijan threatens the lives of Armenian civilians living in Nagorno-Karabakh. Eric Ismaelian of the ANC San Diego Chapter conveyed to the Congressman the serious lack of practical guarantees of Azerbaijan’s use of US military aid against Armenians in the Caucasus.
Rep. Filner praised the ANCA-WR’s outreach programs and thanked his constituents and the organizational representatives for their initiative in setting up the meeting and encouraged Armenian-Americans to continue educating the American public and the global community about the historical facts of the Armenian Genocide. One of only a handful of Representatives in Congress to have a Doctorate Degree, Rep. Filner received his Ph.D. in history from Cornell University. In his discussion regarding recent setbacks in Congress regarding Armenian Genocide related bills, the Congressmen reiterated the importance of learning from the mistakes of the past and affirming the historical facts of the Armenian Genocide stating that “We can’t let history repeat itself.” Rep. Filner added that in the post-September 11 climate, Armenian Genocide affirmation legislation would seem particularly relevant.
“Representative Filner has been a strong supporter of our issues in Congress and understands the importance of taking a stand to reaffirm the Armenian Genocide,” explained ANCA-WR Government Relations Director Ardashes Kassakhian. “With a growing Armenian American community in his district, and the San Diego area in general, Rep. Filner has a firm grasp on the issues that most concern his constituents locally and nationally.”
The Armenian National Committee of America is the largest and most influential Armenian-American grassroots political organization. The ANCA actively advances a broad range of issues of concern to the Armenian-American community.