LAS VEGAS–Bolstered by strong community support and a dedicated team of volunteers, the Nevada Armenian National Committee (ANC) had a banner year in 2006. The Silver State’s ANC chapter focused this year on educating local, state and federal officials on issues of concern to Nevada’s rapidly growing Armenian American community. Thanks in large part to the work of the Nevada ANC, the state is home to a delegation of House and Senate members who have consistently offered strong support for Armenia in the U.S. Congress. The Nevada ANC maintains strong and long-term relationships with incoming Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid, Sen. John Ensign, Representatives Shelley Berkley and Jon Porter and incoming Gov. Jim Gibbons. The chapter also has a strong and positive working relationship with Las Vegas Mayor Oscar Goodman and Las Vegas City Councilwoman Lois Tarkanian, wife of famed basketball coach Jerry Tarkanian. "We are pleased with the growth of the Nevada ANC," remarked the chapter’s co-chairman Ara Shirinian. "Our chapter is committed to unifying our community around common issues that all Armenian Americans support. As an example, this year we took some major strides in working with Las Vegas officials to erect a monument in tribute to the victims of the Armenian Genocide and worked to introduce a genocide education curriculum in our public school system," Shirinian added. Incoming Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid, a strong friend of the Nevada ANC, has played a leading role in blocking the nomination of Richard Hoagland to serve as America’s next ambassador to Armenia. In a letter to the Nevada ANC this summer, Senator Reid shared that he was "extremely concerned" by the reluctance of Richard Hoagland to acknowledge the Armenian Genocide. Most recently, on December 1st, Senator Reid called on President Bush to withdraw the Hoagland nomination and propose a new candidate to serve in this important diplomatic post. The incoming Majority Leader stressed that, in light of the broad-based opposition within Congress, the extensive media coverage this issue has received, and the strong stand of the Armenian American community against the nomination, "it would serve neither our national interests nor the U.S.-Armenia relationship to expect Ambassador-designate Hoagland to carry out his duties under these highly contentious and profoundly troubling circumstances." Supporters of the Nevada ANC hosted a number of fundraisers in support of area politicians. In July of this year, ANC supporters in the Las Vegas area sponsored a fundraiser for Republican U.S. Senator John Ensign. Ensign has emerged as a vocal proponent of U.S. recognition of the Armenian Genocide and introduced an Armenian Genocide resolution in the recently concluded 109th Congress. Also in 2006, Nevada ANC supporters hosted a fundraiser for Congresswoman Shelley Berkley, a member of the powerful House International Relations Committee and an active member of the Congressional Caucus on Armenian Issues. "I believe the growth in Nevada’s Armenian American community has provided a positive opportunity for our ANC chapter to grow as well," commented Nevada ANC co-chairman Dr. Armen Hovanessian. "And with the recent changes in Washington, our good friend Senator Reid is now the majority leader of the U.S. Senate. All of this, the growth in our community and the change in Washington, presents a golden opportunity for Nevada’s Armenian American community to play a major role in advancing the Armenian Cause," Hovanessian added. During the course of the year, the Nevada ANC joined together with other community organizations in participating in an April 24th ceremony that drew over 400 participants. Among the public officials who attended the ceremony were incoming Governor Jim Gibbons, Congressmembers Shelley Berkley and Jon Porter and candidate forNevada Secretary of StateDanny Tarkanian. Supporters of the Nevada ANC also hosted a successful fundraising event for the ANCA at the home of Dr. Armen and Lena Hovanessian. The ANCA is the largest and most influential Armenian American grassroots political organization. Working in coordination with a network of offices, chapters, and supporters throughout the United States and affiliated organizations around the world, the ANCA actively advances the concerns of the Armenian-American community on a broad range of issues.