LOS ANGELES—Representatives of the Armenian National Committee of America – Hollywood (ANCA Hollywood) and Armenian National Committee of America – Western Region (ANCA-WR) discussed Congressional affirmation of the Armenian Genocide and a broad range of community concerns during a meeting with Congressman Xavier Becerra (D-CA) at his Echo Park district office earlier last week.
“Rep. Becerra’s efforts to engage the Armenian American community are commendable,” stated Paul Seradarian, ANCA Hollywood Board Vice-Chair and 31st Congressional District constituent. “We look forward to working with the Congressman on a variety of issues of concern to our community, including efforts to bring an end to the cycle of genocide and expand US- Armenia relations,” he added.
Meeting attendees discussed Armenian American foreign aid priorities in 2011, which include no less than $70 million in direct economic assistance to Armenia, no less than $10 million in development aid to Nagorno Karabagh, the enhancing Section 907 of the Freedom Support Act and maintaining military aid parity between Armenia and Azerbaijan, among others.
Attendees also expressed grave concern of the nomination of Deputy Assistant Secretary of State Matthew Byrza for the post of U.S. Ambassador to Azerbaijan and asked the Congressman to advocate for close Senate scrutiny of the nomination. Following the Obama Administration’s nomination of Bryza, the Armenian National Committee of America (ANCA) has launched a nationwide campaign calling upon U.S. Senators to carefully scrutinize his diplomatic record on issues impacting U.S. interests and American values in the Caucasus, Southeastern Europe, and the surrounding region. In August, 2009, ANCA Chairman Ken Hachikian called specific attention to Bryza’s public statements regarding a number of issues, including the application of the flawed and one-sided Madrid Principles as the basis for the resolution of the Nagorno Karabagh issue.
Becerra was first elected to the U.S. House of Representatives in 1992. The Congressman serves as Vice Chair of the House Democratic Caucus and is a senior member of the powerful Committee on Ways and Means. He was the first Latino to serve on the Ways and Means Committee. Rep. Becerra currently serves on the Health, Oversight, and Social Security subcommittees. He is also a member of the House Committee on Budget, which oversees the federal budget process.
Located entirely in the City of Los Angeles, California’s 31st Congressional District is home to a significant number of Armenian Americans. The district includes all or parts of the neighborhoods of Atwater Village, Eagle Rock, Echo Park, Garvanza, Glassell Park, Highland Park, Hollywood, Jefferson Park, Koreatown, Lincoln Heights, Mid City, Montecito Heights, Monterey Hills, Mount Washington, New Chinatown, Pico Union, Silverlake, South Los Angeles, Vernon and Westlake.
The Armenian National Committee – Western Region is the largest and most influential Armenian American grassroots advocacy organization in the Western United States. Working in coordination with a network of offices, chapters, and supporters throughout the Western United States and affiliated organizations around the country, the ANC-WR advances the concerns of the Armenian American community on a broad range of issues.
PHOTO CAPTION: ANCA Hollywood Board member Sam Kbushyan, ANCA Hollywood Chairman Rostom Sarkissian, ANCA-WR Chairwoman Aida Dimejian, Congressman Xavier Becerra, ANCA-WR Government Relations Director Lerna Shirinian and ANCA Hollywood Board Vice Chair Paul Seradarian.