PROVO, Utah–Members of the Armenian National Committee of Utah (Utah ANC) and the Armenian National Committee ‘s Western Region recently visited the office of Congressman Chris Cannon in Provo, Utah to discuss issues of concern to the local Armenian American community. Congressman Chris Cannon represents the 3rd Congressional District of Utah which covers areas of central and west central Utah. This area includes nearly all of Utah County and the west side of Salt Lake County. This district is widely considered the strongest Republican district in the entire United States.
“Meeting Congressman Cannon provided us, as members of the local community, with an opportunity to meet our elected Member of Congress and discuss important issues that we are concerned about in our community,” remarked Utah ANC Chairman Sarkis Bekearian. “Engaging our Members of Congress is a main priority for the local Utah ANC, especially as we raise awareness of ending the cycle of genocide,” he added.
The meeting was attended by Congressman Cannon, District Director Corey Norman, Bekearian and his father and local community advocate Ara Bekearian and ANC-WR Executive Director Andrew Kzirian. During the meeting, the Bekearians discussed the long history of Armenian Americans and their respective organizations in Utah and how they have contributed to the local community. During the meeting, Bekearian noted that he and the Congressman enjoy a shared university experience as graduates of Brigham Young University. Bekearian also noted the letter writing initiative begun by the Utah ANC and the hand written requests for the Congressman to sign on to H. Res. 106 as a cosponsor. H. Res. 106, the Armenian Genocide Resolution which is currently pending in the House of Representatives Committee on Foreign Affairs, currently enjoys the strong bipartisan support of 227 Members of Congress from all across the United States. Kzirian described the work and history of the ANC-WR in supporting local efforts and raising awareness of issues of concern to Armenian Americans with an emphasis on H. Res. 106. Congressman Cannon mentioned that his wife Claudia has studied the Armenian culture and he assured the group that he was keenly aware of the Armenian Genocide and noted his past support for similar legislation in previous Congresses.
“It is always a pleasure to observe the power of grassroots advocacy,” stated Kzirian. “The Utah ANC epitomizes the type of work that communities everywhere can emulate ‘s their work is truly an example of strong advocacy and intelligent grassroots coordination,” he added.
Congressman Chris Cannon was first elected to Congress on November 5, 1996. Born in Salt Lake City, Utah on October 20, 1950, Cannon received his Bachelor of Science and Law Degrees from Brigham Young University and worked as an attorney in Provo, Utah for four years. In 1983, the Congressman was appointed by President Ronald Reagan as the lawyer in charge of coal mining reclamation, enforcement and writing the current regulatory scheme. During his tenure, Cannon supervised approximately 100 attorneys working on surface coal mining issues.
In this position, he helped move oversight of coal mine reclamation from the federal government to the states. In 1986, Cannon worked as a consultant to the Assistant Secretary for Productivity, Technology and Innovation at the Department of Commerce. In 1987, Cannon with his brother, Joe, helped purchase and reopen Geneva Steel in Orem, Utah, restoring 2,500 steel worker jobs. In 1990, Cannon purchased Geneva’s new venture division, now called Cannon Industries, Inc.
In 1992, Cannon served as the Utah Finance Chairman and on the National Finance Committee for President George Bush’s reelection. From 1991-92, he served as Finance Chairman for the Utah Republican Party. Cannon has served as a delegate to the Republican National Convention in 1992 and 1996. In the 1996 election, Cannon was one of the five presidential electors.
Congressman Cannon was named Chairman of the House Judiciary Subcommittee on Commercial and Administrative Law at the beginning of the 108th Congress in January of 2003. As chairman, Congressman Cannon oversaw legislation involving bankruptcy reform, privacy, interstate compacts and tort reform. He currently serves as the Ranking Member on the subcommittee.
Additionally, Congressman Cannon is a member of the House Oversight and Government Reform Committee. Congressman Cannon is also a member of the House Natural Resources Committee, serving on the National Parks, Forests, and Public Lands Subcommittee.
In January of 2003, Congressman Cannon was elected chairman of the influential Western Caucus, an organization of over 50 Congressmen leading the debate for rational, balanced and sound resource management.
Cannon and his wife have served as missionaries in Spain, Guatemala and El Salvador. They have eight children and reside in Mapleton, Utah.