BOSTON—The Armenian National Committee of America Eastern Region joined with friends from across the Massachusetts Armenian community in celebrating Congressman Ed Markey’s victory in Tuesday night’s special Senate election. Markey (D-MA-5) led at the ballot box against Republican businessman Gabriel Gomez throughout the day and won by a 10-point margin.
“We are very excited to see Rep. Ed Markey assume this new role in his career of public service. The ANCA of Massachusetts joins with Armenian Americans from across the state and country in welcoming his victory, and we look forward to his continued leadership on issues of concern to our community,” said Mikael Garabedian of ANCA-Massachusetts, who was among the Armenian-American contingent on hand to celebrate Rep. Markey’s success at his victory party.
Since he was first elected to the U.S. House of Representatives in 1976, Rep. Markey has been a strong and consistent advocate on Armenian issues, receiving multiple “A+” ratings from the ANCA in its Congressional Report Card.
Rep. Markey has been outspoken in support of U.S. reaffirmation of the Armenian Genocide, cosponsoring all related legislation introduced in the U.S. House, including the Armenian Genocide Truth and Justice Resolution (H.Res.227), introduced in May of this year. In his annual Armenian Genocide commemorative statement submitted for the Congressional Record this year, Rep. Markey explained, “Almost one-hundred years have passed since the Armenian Genocide, yet the suffering will continue for Armenians and non-Armenians alike as long as the world allows denial to prevail.”
In May of 2006, in the aftermath of the State Department recall of U.S. Ambassador to Armenia John Evans over his proper commemoration of the Armenian Genocide, Rep. Markey shared his concerns with Secretary of State Condoleezza Rice and rallied 60 of his U.S. House colleagues to request State Department clarification of the White House action. “We must not allow the perception to linger that he [Ambassador Evans] is being required to vacate his position early for accurately labeling the cataclysmic events of 1915 as genocide,” Rep. Markey and legislators wrote in the May 22, 2006, letter to Secretary Rice, adding that Ambassador Evans “did nothing more than succinctly repeat the conclusions enunciated by those before him.”
As Ranking Democrat on the House Natural Resources Committee, Rep. Markey was a vocal opponent of H.R.2362 – The Indian Tribal Trade and Investment Demonstration Project Act of 2011 – which would have unfairly limited foreign trade preferences on Indian tribal lands to only one country, Turkey. In remarks made during July 23, 2012, House consideration of the measure, Rep. Markey explained, “By acknowledging Turkey’s ‘unique interest’ in developing tribal economies and in building ‘robust’ relationships between it and tribal communities, this legislation rewards a country with a terrible history of human rights and religious freedom violations, threats to U.S. commercial interests in Cyprus, and –most importantly–its refusal to acknowledge the Armenian Genocide which resulted in the deaths of 1.5 million people.” The measure was defeated in a floor vote.
Since the independence of the Republic of Armenia, Rep. Markey has been a consistent supporter of robust U.S. assistance to Armenia and Nagorno Karabakh, annually joining colleagues in urging the House Appropriations Subcommittee on Foreign Operations to maintain high-levels of funding, given the dual blockades of Turkey and Azerbaijan. In 2008, he joined over 50 of his Congressional colleagues in calling on then-Secretary Rice to challenge Azerbaijan’s threats of renewed war against Armenia and Nagorno Karabakh, and to take concrete action to hold leaders in Baku accountable for actions that directly undermine the Administration’s policy of fostering peace and stability in the South Caucasus region.
Rep. Markey has developed close ties with the active Armenian American community in his district, which includes Watertown, Belmont, Waltham and Lexington. He has been a frequent participant in Armenian events in his district, attending church bazaars and, in recent years, the hugely successful Boston Kermesse street festival. He has toured the Hairenik Building in Watertown and has closely worked with the ANCA of Massachusetts and other Armenian organizations over his extensive career.
The June 25 Massachusetts Senate special election victory means Rep. Markey will fill now Secretary of State John Kerry’s vacant seat for the remainder of his term, ending January 3, 2015.