TSONGAS PLEDGES CONTINUED SUPPORT TO ARMENIANS
By: Tom Vartabedian

Armenian Weekly
Tue, Nov 22 2011

LOWELL, Mass.-Since taking office four years ago, Congresswoman Niki
Tsongas has pledged her unwavering support to Armenia.

The ANC of Merrimack Valley presented an enlarged photo of Lowell to
U.S. Congresswoman Niki Tsongas, who pledged her continued support
to Armenian affairs. Others, from left, Stephen Dulgarian, Tom
Vartabedian, Gregory Minasian, and Armen Jeknavorian.

She's not about to stop now.

"As a member of the Armenian Congressional Caucus, I look forward
to continue promoting the mutual interest of our two countries and
celebrate our rich history together," she said. "I will continue
working to see that the mass murders by the Ottoman Empire against
the Armenians are appropriately recognized as genocide in Congress."

Tsongas agreed to sign House Resolution 306, calling for the return of
confiscated church properties. In doing so, she joins 39 co-sponsors,
including the chairs of the Armenian, Hellenic, and Human Rights
Caucuses.

The bill urges the Republic of Turkey to safeguard the area's Christian
heritage and join the United States in preserving the rights of
national, religious, and ethnic groups worldwide.

Tsongas had earlier affixed her name to the genocide resolution,
H.Res.304, which drew 84 co-sponsors, and is currently studying a
third resolution, H.J.Res.83, seeking to stop an arms sale to Turkey.

The meeting took place inside her Lowell office with members of
the Armenian National Committee (ANC) of Merrimack Valley, Stephen
Dulgarian, Gregory Minasian, Armen Jeknavorian, and Tom Vartabedian.

A number of other issues were raised with Tsongas, who represents
the Fifth Congressional District of Massachusetts:

-Increased economic assistance to Armenia

-Humanitarian aid to the Republic of Nagorno Karabagh

-Condemning Azeri aggression and sniping

-Anti-Armenian actions by the Georgian government in Javakhk

Tsongas was also updated on the $6 million genocide memorial currently
being built on the Rose Kennedy Greenway in Boston, as well as a
genocide monument (currently in the planning stages) to be erected
by Lowell City Hall.

The Congresswoman agreed to look into all the matters proposed and
stay connected with issues relevant to the welfare of Armenians in
this country as well as abroad.

Throughout her brief tenure in Congress, Tsongas has supported U.S.

investments that have helped spur Armenia's economic growth and advance
the development of Armenia's democratic institutions while also helping
the people of Armenia survive, despite Turkish and Azeri blockades.

"It is critical that the United States demonstrate appropriate
diplomacy to improve relations between Armenia and Turkey," she
confirmed. "I'm hopeful that with American leadership, normalization
may soon take place. Armenians have made Merrimack Valley a more
enriched ethnic community."

Elected in a special election in 2007, Tsongas is the first woman to
serve in Congress from Massachusetts in 25 years. She holds the same
seat that was occupied three decades earlier by her late husband,
former presidential candidate Paul Tsongas, who received an ANC
Freedom Award from Merrimack Valley.

As a parting gesture, ANC members presented Tsongas with an enlarged
photograph of Lowell, which will proudly hang in her Washington office.