Washington–Armenian National Committee of America (ANCA) National Board member Ari Killian joined with some 100 friends and supporters to rally support for Congressional Armenian Caucus Co-Chair Mark Kirk’s (R-IL) bid for the Illinois U.S. Senate seat once held by President Obama, reported the Armenian National Committee of America (ANCA).
With the backdrop of his boyhood home in Kenilworth, Kirk pledged to “restore ethics and integrity to Illinois government,” and focused on the economy and ending the war in Iraq. During his remarks, Rep. Kirk also expressed his appreciation to the Armenian American community for its steadfast support throughout his nearly decade-long service in the House and the importance of genocide recognition.
In 2000, the ANCA endorsed Rep. Kirk in a hotly contested twelve-person Republican primary, and he has subsequently been reelected to serve the people of Illinois’ 10th congressional district with the full engagement of ANCA activists in Illinois.
“Rep. Kirk has been an outspoken champion of Armenian American concerns,” stated Killian. “As a member of the Subcommittee on State, Foreign Operations and as the Republican co-chair of the Armenian Caucus, he has worked tirelessly for U.S. recognition of the Armenian Genocide, advocating for strong levels of foreign aid for Armenia and Nagorno Karabakh, and seeking an end to Azerbaijan’s warmongering over Nagorno Karabakh.”
Rep. Kirk began his career on the staff of his predecessor, John Porter, who along with Rep. Frank Pallone (D-NJ) co-founded the Congressional Caucus on Armenian Issues in 1995. He later served in the World Bank, the State Department, the law firm of Baker & McKenzie, and the U.S. House International Relations Committee.
Rep. Kirk, who holds the rank of Commander, is a Naval Reserve intelligence officer and has served during conflicts in Afghanistan, Iraq, Haiti, and Bosnia. The U.S. Navy named Kirk “Intelligence Officer of the Year” in 1999 for his combat service in Kosovo.
Representing the largest Armenian American constituency in Illinois, Rep. Kirk has been a strong advocate on behalf of core community concerns. He is a lead sponsor of H. Res. 252, the Armenian Genocide resolution, and serves on the Subcommittee on State, Foreign Operations and Related Programs of the Committee on Appropriations, where he worked with his colleagues to adopt language strengthening Section 907 restrictions on U.S. assistance to Azerbaijan.
In appreciation of his ongoing support of Armenian American concerns, Rep. Kirk was recently presented with the “Spirit of Armenia” award by His Eminence Archbishop Oshagan Choloyan at the 2009 National Representative Assembly of the Eastern Prelacy of the Armenian Apostolic Church of America.