Armenian Assembly of America
122 C Street, NW, Suite 350
Washington, DC 20001
Phone: 202-393-3434
Fax: 202-638-4904
Email: [email protected]

September 2, 2004
CONTACT: David Zenian
E-mail: [email protected]


Washington - The Armenian Assembly Thursday welcomed the decision by
first-term Congressman Jon C. Porter (R-NV) to join the Congressional
Caucus on Armenian Issues, thus boosting the Caucus membership to 137.

"We commend Congressman Porter for his support. We welcome his decision
to join the Caucus which continues to be the strongest bridge between
the United States, Armenia and the Armenian-American community,"
Assembly Executive Director Ross Vartian said.

Rep. Porter announced his decision at a meeting in his Henderson
district office, during a meeting with the Assembly's Western Office
Director Lena Kaimian along with Assembly members Lenna Hovanessian
and Seta Der Garabedian-Barnes.

"I would be honored to join the Caucus and work with my fellow members
and the Armenian American community both here in my constituency
and elsewhere in support of your core issues," Rep. Porter told
his visitors.

Rep. Porter is a member of the Education & the Workforce and
the Transportation & Infrastructure Committees. He signed the
2004 congressional letter to President George W. Bush urging him
to properly recognize the Armenian Genocide in his April 24th
commemorative address.

During the lengthy and candid meeting, Rep. Porter and his guests
reviewed several questions on such issues of importance to the
Armenian-American community as the U.S.-Armenia trade bill, military
parity between Armenia and Azerbaijan, U.S. foreign aid in general,
the Nagorno Karabakh conflict and other matters.

"I have never been to Armenia and I think it is important to see
first hand the situation on the ground. I definitely want to go and
see things for myself," he told his visitors.

Rep. Porter's decision to join the Armenian Caucus came during a
week when Assembly activists and staff stepped up their year-round
contacts with legislators across the country, visiting the district
offices of their elected officials in Congress and the Senate to
thank legislators for their support and discuss issues of concern to
the Armenian-American community.

The week-long meetings were spearheaded by the Assembly's
Washington-based Grassroots Director Nancy Yerian Hiteshue who
traveled to New Jersey, Pennsylvania and Connecticut, and Western
Office Director Lena Kaimian who visited Nevada.

Among the key issues discussed at all meetings were military aid
parity between Armenia and Azerbaijan in the Fiscal Year (FY) 2005
Foreign Operations bill and legislation granting permanent normal
trade relations (PNTR) to Armenia.

"These district meetings are a great opportunity for our members and
friends to directly and personally get involved in the democratic
process. This was one of the key themes at the Assembly's National
Conference last year and remains a year-round endeavor," Hiteshue said.

The series of meetings began with a visit Tuesday to the district
office of Rep. Bill Pascrell (D-NJ), who represents Patterson,
Passaic and Bloomfield, during which Hiteshue was joined by Jane
Giragossian Hastings for an in-depth discussion of military parity
between Armenia and Azerbaijan, trade and other issues with the New
Jersey Congressman's Chief of Staff.

Pascrell, who is a member of the Armenian Caucus and serves on the
Transportation and Infrastructure and Homeland Security Committees,
has a solid record of support for Armenian issues.

On Wednesday, Hiteshue joined Assembly member Sonia Hagopian, George
Yakoubian of the Knights of Vartan and Antoine Bazarashian from
the Tekeyan Cultural Association at meetings in Philadelphia with
the District Directors of Rep. Joseph Hoeffel (D-PA) and Sen. Arlen
Specter (R-PA), and the District Director of Rep. Curt Weldon (R-PA)
in Upper Darby.

Hoffel and Welden are also members of the Armenian Caucus and strong
supporters of Armenian issues.

Traveling to Wethersfield, Connecticut on Thursday, Hiteshue and
Assembly activists Mr. and Mrs. Paul DerBogossian met the District
Director of Senator Chris Dodd (D-CT). Later the same day, Hiteshue
had a meeting with the District Director of Rep. Rosa DeLauro (D-CT)
in New Haven.

Sen. Dodd and Rep. DeLauro have voted in support of several issues
of interest to the Armenian-American community.

The Armenian Assembly of America is the largest Washington-based
nationwide organization promoting public understanding and awareness of
Armenian issues. It is a 501(c)(3) tax-exempt membership organization.


From: Emil Lazarian | Ararat NewsPress