LOS ANGELES – After having garnered 22,339 votes during the Presidential Primary Elections in March, Elen Asatryan was sworn in over the weekend to the Los Angeles County Democratic Party, as a member-elect representing the 43rd Assembly District. The swearing in took place en masse via Zoom due to the COVID-19 Pandemic.
“I’m honored to join the LACDP and appreciate the voters, organizations, and supporters who made our collective victory possible. Together, we changed the way county central committee elections are conducted, and above all, we educated thousands of voters and the general public, who for the most part, were not familiar with the specifics of the committee’s mission and function,” stated Asatryan.
“I chose to run for this position because I wanted to see true representation of LA’s diverse communities in the LACDP, particularly its Armenian-American community, and did not want to settle with the ‘politics as usual’ coming out of my own party. I hope our campaign will inspire others to become civically engaged and help shape the change that’s needed in our party structures and in policy making. I look forward to our work ahead to ensure that we have an inclusive party as diverse as the people it represents, and make sure that the people’s voice is heard both on the legislative front and at the ballot box,” added Asatryan.
This year’s 43rd State Assembly District’s DCCC race was an unusually popular and a highly-contested one with eighteen (18) candidates and seven (7) open seats. Typically, candidates do not actively campaign for the position. Asatryan, however, ran an effective on-the- ground and digital campaign, setting an unprecedented social media presence with educational infographics, endorsement highlights and supporter testimonials. Her campaign emboldened a fervent grassroots following, especially from young voters, many of whom met organically through the coffee meet-ups, mixers and networking gatherings she and her campaign hosted, and initiated their own events in support of the campaign thereafter.
As the official governing body of the Democratic Party in Los Angeles County and the largest local Democratic Party entity in the United States, the DCCC represents nearly 2.7 million Democrats in the 88 cities and the unincorporated areas of Los Angeles County – a population larger than 42 individual states.
Similar to the unconventional way she ran her campaign, Asatryan also chose to open to the public the position of her alternate appointment. This position is usually filled with someone that has close ties to and will be loyal to the elected member. It is not a position that has ever been open to the public. Asatryan opened an application process instead and appointed one of the applicants, Vanuhi Vartanian, a Glendale resident and graduate of both UCLA and UC Berkeley, who is passionate about women’s rights, social justice, public education, income inequality, and has volunteered extensively for such causes affecting Armenia and Artsakh.
“Though I knew so many amazing individuals that were already involved and would nicely fit into the position, my hope was to come across someone that was interested in politics, but hadn’t had the chance to or hadn’t been given the opportunity to be engaged. Lo and behold, I discovered a local gem,” Asatryan said in a social media post announcing the appointment.
“Here is the thing, when we say we need more women and young people around decision making tables, we have to put those words into action. The opportunity to engage and embrace people is always there if you’re looking to do that no matter what field you’re in,” she added.
“When I voted for Elen back in March, I remember feeling so inspired by her passion and dedication and proud that Armenian women like her are in places of power to be the voice of our community. Now I’m even more proud, inspired, and grateful to be her alternate for the LACDP central committee. I look forward to learning from Elen, serving on notable committees, and participating in the decision making conversations of the LACDP,” stated Vartanian after joining the LACDP reorganization meeting via zoom. After the swearing in, the two decided to showcase their Armenian heritage in the breakout room, changing their backgrounds from plain walls to those displaying photographs of Armenia’s ancestral mountain, Mount Ararat.
Asatryan is a human rights and social justice advocate, the founder of the Stark Group – a full service political consulting firm, and the former Executive Director of the ANCA – Western Region and ANCA Glendale. Spanning over two decades, some of her accomplishments include: Ensuring equal access and representation at local and state-level government entities. Creating public policy fellowship and internship programs to train our future leaders. Establishing the Glendale Domestic Violence Task Force. Launching the HyeVotes voter registration, education, and ‘Get out the Vote’ initiatives, which resulted in registering over 50,000 new voters in Los Angeles County alone, leading to record-breaking voter turnout in some of the most competitive local, state, and federal elections. Securing recognition for the Armenian Genocide and Republic of Artsakh, and adoption of Genocide education curriculum in CA public schools. Helping mobilize 166,000 participants in the historic March for Justice for the 100th anniversary of the Armenian Genocide. Expanding green space, community outreach, and access to programs for low-income families and children while serving as Chair of the City of Glendale Parks, Recreation and Community Services Commission.
Since the Election and in the wake of the pandemic, Asatryan has spent most of her time volunteering to provide outreach, education and assistance to community members unable to navigate through assistance programs available and has continuously called on local, county and state representatives to implement measures to ensure communities with special needs have the information and access to obtain the assistance.
Asatryan will continue to engage with the community on her social platforms. To learn more about Elen Asatryan visit elenasatryan.com. For up to the minute updates, follow her public social media accounts on Facebook, Instagram, and Twitter @ElectElen.
The County Central Committee is a volunteer position. Members are elected for 4 year terms. To learn more about the LACDP visit LACDP.org. The 43rd Assembly District encompasses the cities of Burbank, Glendale, La Cañada Flintridge, La Crescenta-Montrose, and parts of Los Angeles including Hollywood Hills, East Hollywood, Little Armenia, Franklin Hills, Los Feliz, Silver Lake, and Atwater Village.