More than 100 invited guests were in attendance at the home of Garo and Alice Avakian–April 3–for a special re-election fund raiser for Congressman Brad Sherman.
Organized by the Armenian National Committee-Political Action Committee–the event reaffirmed the Armenian community’s support of the 24th District Congressman–and raised more than $10,000 for his re-election bid.
"Congressman Sherman has only been our representative for a little more than a year now–and already he has accomplished some incredible things," said ANC Western Region member Steve Derderian–who was the evening’s master of ceremonies. "He’s done more in this short time than many have done in their careers."
Derderian highlighted some of Sherman’s accomplishmen’s in the past year or so–including authoring a $12.5 million aid package to Nagorno-Karabakh–the first ever of its kind–authoring bills to limit aid to Turkey–standing in opposition of Turkey’s attempts to establish chairs at UCLA and UC Berkeley–supporting Genocide recognition–and authoring bills to block sale of military weaponry to Turkey and Azerbaijan.
"It is a great honor and privilege to have Congressman Sherman here with us tonight," said Neshan Bostanian–chairman of San Fernando Valley ANC.
"He has been a champion of Nagorno-Karabakh–and through his efforts–and through his leadership–he has shown an unwavering support for all Armenian issues," he continued.
Bostanian said the ANC was ready to support Sherman’s re-election campaign–and said the month of May would be devoted to conducting phone banks–voter registration and many other things to see him re-elected.
Armand Keosian–chairman of the Armenian National Committee-Western Region–also spoke at the event–and announced that the ANC had officially decided to endorse Sherman’s candidacy–straying from its norm of not making an announcement until late in the year.
"Usually–the ANC does not endorse a candidate until very late in the year–right before elections. This year–however–considering that we have a Congressman who not only works hard for his constituency–which I am proud to say I am one of them–but for all Armenia’s–the ANC-PAC is very proud to announce that at this early time–it has decided to endorse Congressman Sherman."
Congressman Sherman’spoke at the height of the program–and was quick to thank organizers of the event–his staff–which he introduced–and finally the Armenian people and the ANC for being so supportive over the years.
Sherman did not waste any time blasting United States foreign policy regarding Turkey and Azerbaijan–accusing the US of allowing oil-hungry interest groups to dictate its policy in the Caucasus.
"When you look for friends–you look into the hearts of men and women–for common values and a dedication to real democracy," Sherman’said. "When you look for friends–you look at people–you don’t hire a geologist to tell you where your friends are.
"Common values–not oil reserves–should establish America’s foreign policy. That is why–when I got to Congress–I started fighting each individual battle."
Sherman went on to say he felt a closeness to the Armenian community–as his Jewish background was similar to that of Armenia’s in that both races had suffered genocide.
Sherman recounted his past battles in Congress in getting aid for Armenia and Karabakh–fighting to block aid to Turkey and Azerbaijan–and many others.
"I had a chance to work with many people in this room on the issue of the government of Turkey’s attempt to establish a chair at UCLA," Sherman’said.
"That particularly enraged me–and I was so proud to see the efforts of the ANC to block that attempt. I was proud to see UCLA stand firm and not compromise its integrity," he added.