June 5 Primary pits Rothman, a strong pro-Armenian advocate, against Pascrell, the garden state’s lone congressional opponent of Armenian issues.
RIDGEFIELD, NJ—The Armenian National Committee of America, the nation’s largest grassroots Armenian American advocacy group, has enthusiastically endorsed Congressman Steve Rothman (D-NJ) for re-election in New Jersey’s 9th Congressional District.
The battle for the Democratic seat between incumbents Rep. Steve Rothman (D-NJ-9) and Rep. Bill Pascrell (D-NJ-8), which is expected to be a very close, represents a stark choice between Steve Rothman’s strong record of support, and Bill Pascrell’s opposition and indifference to Armenian issues.
The ANCA will be working to ensure that Armenian American voters will be present at the polls on June 5th in favor of long time supporter, Steve Rothman. Redistricting has forced the two incumbents to face each other in the Democratic primary slated for June 5th, and the Armenian American vote will be critically important in helping reelect Rep. Steve Rothman.
“Congressman Rothman has been a strong advocate of issues of concern to the Armenian community throughout his 16 years in Congress,” stated Karine Shnorhokian, ANCA of NJ co-chair. “He has been a leading advocate in Congress for U.S. recognition of the Armenian Genocide, a fair and peaceful settlement of the Nagorno-Karabagh conflict, and the economic and democratic development of Armenia,” Shnorhokian added.
“The choice could not be starker or the stakes higher,” said Aram Hamparian, a New Jersey native who serves as Executive Director of the ANCA. “Congressman Rothman, our friend and champion on each and every issue of concern to our community, is facing the lone Member of Congress from New Jersey who has opposed recognition of the Armenian Genocide and failed to support scores of pro-Armenian initiatives that have crossed his desk during his long years in Washington.”
The Rothman Record: Strong, Consistent Support for Armenian Issues
Congressman Rothman was one of the original co-sponsors of the recently passed H. Res. 306, which called upon the Secretary of State to press Turkey to return stolen Christian church property and allow full freedom of faith for religious minorities. As a senior member of the House panel responsible for foreign aid, he has helped appropriate hundreds of millions of dollars for vital programs in both Armenia and Nagorno Karabakh.
It was through Congressman Rothman’s efforts several years ago that the Armenian American community learned about the true nature and purpose of the ill-fated and controversial Turkish Armenian Reconciliation Commission, which he learned was being funded by the State Department. Congressman Rothman has also consistently supported the full range of pro-Armenian legislative initiatives, and attended events to commemorate the Armenian Genocide and support Artsakh’s independence. He joined the Armenian American community again this year for the annual Capitol Hill Armenian Genocide commemoration.
Rep. Rothman has consistently received an “A” grade on the Congressional Report Cards issued every election cycle by the ANCA, while Rep. Pascrell has frequently earned “D” grades from the ANCA.
Pascrell: Indifferent or Opposed to Armenian Issues
Congressman Rothman is facing a difficult primary challenge from Congressman Pascrell, who currently is the incumbent in New Jersey’s 8th Congressional District. Unlike Rep. Rothman, Rep. Pascrell has not cosponsored the Armenian Genocide resolution for over a decade, and has been mostly indifferent to many issues of concern to Armenian Americans. He did not cosponsor the Return of Churches resolution (H.Res. 306), which Congressman Rothman cosponsored and overwhelmingly passed the House of Representatives in December 2011. Pascrell was, in fact, the only member of Congress to withdraw his cosponsorship of the Armenian Genocide resolution in 2000.
At times, Rep. Pascrell has stood out as the only member of the New Jersey Congressional delegation not to support Armenian American initiatives. Moreover, instead of attending the annual Capitol Hill Armenian Genocide commemoration, Congressman Pascrell was one of only a few members to attend the opening of new offices for an Armenian Genocide-denying organization, the Turkish Coalition of America.
These two incumbent New Jersey Democrats are facing each other in the newly drawn 9th congressional district primary on June 5, due to the Census-driven loss of one Congressional seat in New Jersey. The newly constituted 9th District includes parts of Bergen, Passaic, and Hudson Counties. It is a district that several thousand Armenian Americans call home.