FRESNO–Newly-elected US House Majority Leader John Boehner (R-OH) was the featured guest at a Fresno event hosted by Congressman George Radanovich (R-CA) and cosponsored by the Armenian National Committee-Political Action Committee (ANC-PAC) on Wednesday.
Participating in the event were Kate Nahapetian–the Armenian National Committee of America’s Government Affairs Director; Armen Carapetian–Director of the ANCA Western Region Office; ANC-Fresno Chairwoman Hygo Ohannessian–and members of the Central Valley Armenian American community.
Commenting on her discussions with the Majority Leader–Nahapetian said–"We welcomed this opportunity to personally ask the Majority Leader–on behalf of Armenian Americans in Fresno and around the country–to schedule Armenian genocide legislation for a vote by the full US House of Representatives." She added that–"the ANCA will–in the coming days and weeks–continue to work with the Majority Leader–and all the members of the House leadership–to schedule an up-or-down vote on this important legislation."
Hygo Ohannessian–representing ANC-Fresno–stressed that "the Central Valley Armenian American community looks to Congressman Radanovich to apply his seniority and exercise his growing influence in impressing upon Majority Leader Boehner–Speaker Hastert–and others in the House leadership that the adoption of this measure is a moral imperative. We are confident that a member-driven effort–personally led by George Radanovich–will overcome the remaining legislative obstacles to the final passage of the Armenian Genocide Resolution."
Congressman Radanovich has–over the past decade–been the leading Congressional sponsor of the Armenian Genocide Resolution (HR 316). This legislation has been co-authored by Rep. Adam Schiff (D-CA)–supported by Armenian Caucus co-chairmen Frank Pallone (D-NJ) and Joe Knollenberg (R-MI)–and cosponsored by a bipartisan group of over 140 US congressmembers. In September of last year–the House International Relations Committee voted overwhelmingly in favor of the resolution by a margin of 40 to 7. Especially noteworthy was the strong–vocal support of the chairman of the committee Congressman Henry Hyde (R-IL). All that remains for the measure to reach a vote is a decision by Majority Leader Boehner–in consultation with his leadership colleagues–to bring this legislation to the House floor.
Majority Leader Boehner has–in the past–supported honoring the victims of the Armenian genocide–most notably voting in favor of Congressman Radanovich’s amendment to cut aid to Turkey in 1996 until Turkey recognizes the Armenian genocide. Even more encouraging is the fact that eight of the ten members of the House Republican leadership have supported Armenian genocide initiatives or legislation in the past.
The luncheon program–held at the Copper River Country Club–provided Congressman Boehner his first opportunity as the new House Majority Leader to pay an official visit to California’s Central Valley. Congressman Radanovich welcomed Congressman Boehner’s selection as Majority Leader February 3 by his House Republican colleagues–noting that his election represents "a clear signal that House Republicans are ready to refocus on our party’s vision and principles." Congressman Radanovich is currently in his sixth term representing California’s 19th Congressional District–which includes Fresno–Madera–Mariposa–Stanislaus–and Tuolumne Counties.
Joining ANC-PAC as cosponsors of the event were California Citrus Mutual–California Sugar Beet Producers–Central Green–Fresno Association of Realtors–Cosyns Farms/Jon Basila–Robert Smittcamp–Tule River Tribal Council–Varoujan Der Simonian–Ginder Development–Raisin Bargaining Association–California Farm Bureau–Cobb Ranch–Friant Water PAC–The Forhan Company–William Smittcamp–Fontana Wood Preserving–and Gemperle Enterprises.