FOSTER CITY, Calif.–Bay Area Armenian National Committee (ANC) activists joined hundreds of enthusiastic supporters at the campaign kickoff of former California State Senator Jackie Speier, who announced her candidacy for California’s 12th US congressional district on Sunday, January 13.
“I’m happy to see Jackie running for Congress. She has done a lot for California and she has been a steadfast advocate of issues of concern to Armenian Americans,” said ANC activist Haig Baghdassarian, who attended Sunday’s event.
Dozens of public officials gathered around Jackie Speier, her husband Barry Dennis, and children Jackson Sierra and Stephanie Sierra for the announcement. They included former State Senator and Majority Leader John Burton, State Assemblyman Ira Ruskin, and US Representatives Anna Eshoo and Mike Thompson. Congresswoman Eshoo, who like Speier is of Armenian descent, warmly introduced and welcomed her long-time friend to the podium.
California’s 12th congressional district has been represented by Congressman Tom Lantos since 1980. Earlier this month, Representative Lantos announced that he would not seek reelection in 2008 due to a diagnosis of esophageal cancer.
Encompassing San Mateo County and a portion of San Francisco, the 12th congressional district coincides with much of the area that Jackie Speier has served as a public official since 1980. Speier’s political career began when she first won a seat on the San Mateo County Board of Supervisors in that year. After serving for six years as a San Mateo County Supervisor, she made a successful bid for the State Assembly and in 1998 was elected to the State Senate. In 2006 she attempted to gain the California Democratic Party’s nomination for Lieutenant Governor, but was narrowly defeated by John Garamendi. The Bay Area ANC has fostered a strong working relationship with Sen. Speier throughout her career.?
Jackie Speier is appreciated throughout the Armenian American community for her long-standing support of legislation and issues that affect Armenian Americans in California. Since her time as a member of the State Assembly, Speier authored numerous measures of interest to Armenian Americans among more than 300 pieces of legislation she introduced that were signed into law. Shortly before being termed out of the Senate, Speier coauthored a bill that was signed into law allowing California families of victims of the Armenian Genocide to bring claims arising out of a failure of a bank to pay or turn over their deposited or looted assets. For her achievemen’s, the Armenian National Committee ‘sWestern Region named Jackie Speier Woman of the Year at its 2006 annual banquet.