Armenian National Committee of America-Western Region
104 North Belmont Street, Suite 200
Glendale, California 91206
Phone: 818.500.1918 Fax: 818.246.7353
[email protected]_ (mailto:[email protected]) _www.anca.org_

PRESS RELEASE Friday, October 1, 2004

Contact: Armen Carapetian 818.500.1918


ANCA-WR Meets with State's Highest Ranking Armenian Democratic Public

Glendale, CA - California State Senator Jackie Speier (D-San
Francisco, San Mateo) visited the offices of the Armenian National
Committee of America- Western Region (ANCA-WR) on Tuesday, September
28 to discuss issues of concern to Armenian-Americans in California
with community leaders. Members of the ANCA-WR Board of Directors and
the Armenian Relief Society (ARS) greeted the Senator and were briefed
on the issues that the Senator has been working onin the State

Senator Speier will be amongst the many public officials in attendance
at this year's Annual Banquet which will be held at the Ritz-Carlton
Huntington Hotel in Pasadena, California on October 24, 2004. ANCA-WR
Chairman Raffi Hamparian welcomed Senator Speier to the ANCA-WR
headquarters and thanked her for steadfast support of legislation and
issues that affect Armenian-Americans in the state. The Senator is
the state's highest ranking Democratic elected official of Armenian
descent and the only Armenian-American woman currently serving in the
State Legislature.

ANCA-WR Board Member Steven Dadaian briefed the Senator on economic
developments in the Republic of Armenia and highlighted the necessity
for the State of California to remain committed to its promise of
establishing the California Regional Trade Office in Armenia. Angela
Savoian, Chairwoman of the ARS Western United States, also briefed the
Senator on the history of the ARS and described the essential social
services that the organization continues to provide to immigrants.
During the meeting, Senator Speier reiterated the importance of her
Armenian ancestry in shaping her commitment to being a public servant
and fighting for justice.

Senator Speier's career-long commitment to public service was nearly
cut short in 1978 when she traveled as legal counsel to California
Congressman Leo J. Ryan to Jonestown, Guyana as part of a
U.S. fact-finding mission that was to investigate rumors that people,
including many Bay Area families, were being held hostage by cult
leader Rev. Jim Jones. On November 18, 1978, at the end of a two-day
investigation, gunmen from the Peoples Temple cult ambushed, shot and
killed Congressman Ryan and four others in his traveling group.
Speier, then 28 years old, was struck by five bullets and was `left
for dead' on a jungle airstrip for 22 hours. The day she was shot,
911 cult members committed mass suicide or were murdered at the
Peoples Temple compound. Senator Speier has stated that `the
Jonestown tragedy is a daily reminder that no one is guaranteed
tomorrow . . . this has absolutely molded my philosophy and my zest
for work and for life.' To this day, she carries two bullets in her
body from the incident.

Two years after the Jonestown shootings, Speier became the youngest
member ever to serve on the San Mateo County Board of Supervisors when
she won her first election by defeating a 20-year incumbent. Senator
Speier served in the State Assembly from 1986 to 1996 before being
elected to the State Senate where she is completing her second term.

Senator Speier has announced her intent to run for Lieutenant Governor
of the State of California. If elected, Senator Jackie Speier would
become only the second Armenian-American to serve in statewide office
since Governor George Deukmejian (1983 - 1991).

`Senator Speier's dedication to public service and to the people of
California is truly admirable and an excellent example for other young
aspiring Armenian-Americans to follow,' commented Ardashes Kassakhian,
ANCA-WR Executive Director. `We're looking forward to having her
attend our Annual Banquet on October 24th and joining us in honoring
other Armenian-American public officials who have paved the way for
future leaders,' added Kassakhian referring to the ANCA-WR Annual
Banquet which will honor Congresswoman Anna Eshoo (D-CA) with the
ANCA-WR Legacy Award and State Senator Chuck Poochigian (R-Fresno)
with the Person of the Year Award. The annual event draws over 750
community leaders and activists, public officials, academicians and
ANC supporters.

Individuals or organizations interested in attending the ANCA-WR
Annual Banquet may call the ANCA-WR Offices at (818) 500-1918 to
reserve their table or individual tickets.

The Armenian National Committee of America (ANCA) is the largest and
most influential Armenian American grassroots political
organization. Working in coordination with a network of offices,
chapters, and supporters throughoutthe United States and affiliated
organizations around the world, the ANCA actively advances the
concerns of the Armenian American community on a broad range of

Editor's Note: Photo available upon request. Photo caption: State
Senator Jackie Speier discusses Armenian American issues with ANCA-WR
Board Chair Raffi
Hamparian and Board Member Steven Dadaian.