Words Spoken at the 2009 ANC-WR Banquet
Good Evening, Ladies and Gentleman. My name is Aida Dimejian, ANC-WR board member. It is my honor and pleasure to introduce this evening’s Legislators of the Year award. As you have noticed, this year we will be honoring two outstanding California legislators, Paul Krekorian and Mark Wyland, for their outstanding contributions to civic life.
Along with members of the ANC-Western Region State Affairs Committee and our Community Relations Director Haig Hovsepian, I have had the pleasure of working closely with these two fine public servants this past year. At the same time, we have witnesses an unprecedented effort by the Turkish and Azeri Lobby in Sacramento to influence legislators, block legislation, and continue their Genocide denial efforts. For that reason alone, we are very fortunate to have these two distinguished legislators continue to champion the truth and resist the deep pocket efforts by the Turkish and Azeri lobbies to infiltrate California politics and deny and distort history.
And, quite simply, that is why we honor them this evening.
Mark Wyland, our Republican state senator from Northern San Diego County, was elected to the State Senate in 2006 after serving as in the State Assembly for six years.
In 2001, Senator Wyland was instrumental in establishing the current state curriculum, which mandates the inclusion of the Armenian Genocide in high school instruction. This past spring, Senator Wyland – whose family includes eyewitnesses to the horrors of the Nazi Holocaust – is well aware that a crime unpunished leads to crime repeated, introduced SB 234 “the Genocide Awareness Act,” which calls for the inclusion of an oral history component to the curriculum, which includes survivor and witness testimony. We are hopeful and optimistic that this important legislation will move forward under the leadership of Senator Wyland. Without further ado, ladies and gentlemen, I give you Senator Mark Wyland.
Our next legislator of the year is a familiar face to all of here tonight. He has been and continues to an old, dear, and loyal friend, and a driving force in the promotion and advancement of the Armenian cause.
Assemblymember Paul Krekorian was first elected to the California legislature in 2006 representing the 43rd district which encompasses the communities of Glendale, Burbank and North Hollywood. A prolific author of legislation, Paul has the distinction of being the legislator with the highest number of bills passed and signed by the Governor.
Paul currently serves in the Majority leadership as the Assistant Majority Floor leader.
This past April, during a memorable April 24th program in the state capital, Paul was instrumental in making this year’s commemoration a memorable one with the screening of the award winning film, Screamers, at the Crest Theater in Sacramento, and culminating with a moving ceremony accompanying the passage of the Armenian Genocide resolution in the State Assembly chambers.
Paul also introduced Assembly Bill 961, which insures that any company that wrongfully withholds assets from the victims of the Genocide is not eligible for California State contracts. This legislation, along with Senator Wyland’s Genocide Awareness Act, continues to withstand strong Azeri and Turkish opposition. As I mentioned earlier the ANC with the backing of the entire Armenian Americans community will make sure that these two important human rights initiatives will prevail, led by the capable leadership of Paul and his Senate colleague Mark Wyland.
As many of you know Paul is a dedicated public servant, who still manages to enjoy time with his wonderful wife Tamar and three wonderful children. Ladies and gentlemen, Paul Krekorian.