WASHINGTON, DC – In recognition of her decades of Congressional service championing issues of special concern to California’s Armenian American community, the Armenian National Committee of America (ANCA) today announced its endorsement of U.S. Senator Barbara Boxer for re-election to the U.S. Senate from the Golden State.
“The ANCA joins with Armenian Americans throughout California in enthusiastically endorsing Barbara Boxer for re-election to the U.S. Senate,” said ANCA Board member Aida Dimejian. ”Senator Boxer has been a rock-solid champion of the views and values of the Armenian American community since her days in the U.S. House and throughout her service in the Senate. She has always been there for us, every step of the way, and we’ll be there for her on Election Day. Vote Boxer on November 2nd!”
The ANCA is working alongside “Armenian Americans for Barbara Boxer” to expand upon the broad bipartisan support that the Senator enjoys due to her three decades of work on issues close to the hearts of all Armenian Americans. Armenian Americans throughout California have mobilized to support Senator Boxer in this highly competitive race, the outcome of which will likely impact our community’s civic advocacy for years to come. For more information, please visit www.armeniansforboxer.com.
Boxer: A Record of Principled Leadership
Senator Boxer has been a consummate advocate for fundamental human rights concerns, including U.S. affirmation of the Armenian Genocide. Since her election to the U.S. House in 1982, she has been a consistent cosponsor of Armenian Genocide legislation and honored victims and survivors of that crime on an annual basis through statements and, often times, participation in community gatherings marking the tragedy.
“Genocide is only possible when people avert their eyes,” explained Senator Boxer in a Senate statement in 2009. “Any effort to deal with genocide –in the past, present or future–must begin with the truth. By acknowledging the truth of the Armenian Genocide, we can end the phony debates and strengthen our ability to stand up against mass killing today.”
In 1991, she was among the first legislators to visit a newly independent Armenia, learning first hand of challenges facing the fledgling democracy and becoming a powerful voice against subsequent blockades and aggression by neighboring Turkey and Azerbaijan. To that end, she has been a tireless advocate of Section 907 restrictions on U.S. assistance to Azerbaijan, standing up to the powerful oil interests and State Department pressure to repeal the measure.
In 1999, when Section 907 came under attack from the Clinton Administration, the Azerbaijani lobby, and the oil industry, she fought back against efforts to weaken or repeal this much-needed law. Sen. Boxer was adamant: “We believe that Section 907 made sense when it was enacted and that it continues to make sense today. To waive it in the absence of any progress toward a lifting of the blockade would reward the Government of Azerbaijan for its intransigence and remove a major incentive for good-faith negotiation from one side in the conflict.”
Learning of the Azerbaijani destruction of the 1300-year old Armenian cemetery in Djulfa, in 2006, Sen. Boxer pressed then U.S. Ambassador to Azerbaijan nominee Anne Derse on the topic and U.S. Ambassador to Azerbaijan, Reno Harnish, for not visiting the site of the destruction despite efforts by the European Union to address this matter.
In 2006, Senator Boxer extensively questioned Richard Hoagland, who had been nominated to replace Ambassador John Evans, whose service as Ambassador to Armenia had been cut short after speaking honestly about the Armenian Genocide. She noted, at the time, referencing Ambassador John Evans’ statement in February 2005 properly characterizing the Armenian Genocide as “genocide,” that: “I agree with Ambassador Evans’ statement. Not only should we not play word games with a matter as serious as genocide, we should also not play political games with issues of genocide.” The ultimate failure of the Hoagland nomination was due, in large part, to the probing and thoughtful questioning by Senator Boxer that revealed Hoagland’s denial of the Armenian Genocide and the Administration’s complicity in its denial. Senator Boxer voted against Mr. Hoagland’s nomination, which was eventually the subject of two “holds” by Senator Menendez (D-NJ) and later withdrawn by President Bush.
Similarly, in successive nomination hearings for U.S. Ambassador to Turkey nominees James Jeffery, as well as U.S. Ambassador to Armenia nominees Dick Hoagland and Marie Yovanovitch – Senator Boxer consistently took her Senate oversight responsibilities seriously – asking tough questions about U.S. policy on the Armenian Genocide and Turkey’s blockade of Armenia.
Most recently, concerned about U.S. Ambassador to Azerbaijan designate Matthew Bryza’s effectiveness in promoting peace in the South Caucasusregion, Sen. Boxer questioned the nominee on his inaction in the face of the Djulfa destruction, and his reticence to publicly and unequivocally condemn Azerbaijani aggression against Nagorno Karabakh. Frustrated with evasive responses both in verbal and several rounds of written questioning, Senator Boxer and Senator Menendez took the unusual step of opposing President Obama’s nominee and then placing a “hold” on Mr. Bryza’s confirmation, preventing this flawed nomination from moving forward.
“I don’t believe he is the right person for this position,” explained Senator Boxer. “What concerns me is that Mr. Bryza has demonstrated a pattern of unwillingness to speak out forcefully in the face of increasing Azerbaijani aggression against Nagorno Karabakh.”
For her decades of principled leadership and respect for Armenian American constituent concerns, Boxer has consistently received an “A” rating by the ANCA and the endorsements that have gone with it. For a complete review of Senator Boxer’s record on Armenian American concerns, visit: www.armeniansforboxer.com