The Armenian National Committee (ANC) of Merrimack Valley took issues of importance to Armenians in the 3rd Congressional district of Massachusetts to the office steps of Rep. Niki Tsongas (D-MA-3) on Monday, September 9, 2013.
The group included longtime ANCA activists Ara Jeknavorian, Aram Jeknavorian, Tom Vartabedian and Stephen Dulgarian. ANCA Eastern Region Executive Director Michelle Hagopian accompanied the group to the meeting Monday morning.
The visit comes on the heels of a Washington, DC meeting with the Congresswoman and Hagopian. Tsongas has been a steadfast supporter of Armenian American concerns, consistently cosponsoring legislation and attending Armenian events both in the district and on Capitol Hill.
“Rep. Tsongas has always been very attentive to our issues and our cause. We’re glad she’s trying to become an even stronger advocate for Armenians, and this meeting was a reminder of that,” said Ara Jeknavorian, ANC of Merrimack Valley co-chairman.
Much of the discussion centered on the situation in Syria and the ANCA’s stance to oppose air strikes by the United States. The ANC leaders expressed their dire concern about the region and about Armenians living there and those who have fled. Rep. Tsongas was receptive and also deeply concerned about the entire situation, and she informed the group she would keep the local ANC abreast about what plays out in Congress this week.
Rep. Tsongas, a member of the Armed Services Committee, was informed about Syrian rebels targeting Armenians prior to that committee’s hearing on Syria on Tuesday, September 10.
Besides Syria, Rep. Tsongas heard concerns of the local ANC on issues such as House Resolution 227 (the Armenian Genocide Truth and Justice Resolution), foreign aid to Armenia and Massachusetts’ 3rd district Armenian community. She said she is always happy meeting with constituents as she “is only as good as the stories I hear.”
“The ANCA Eastern Region is very lucky to have such a strong voice for Armenians in our corner with Rep. Tsongas. She has made her presence known both locally and nationally, whether by attending April 24 commemorations or signing on to Dear Colleague letters over the years,” stated Hagopian.
The ANC of Merrimack Valley also brought up the dedication of a new Armenian Genocide monument that will be erected on public land in front of Lowell City Hall in April 2014. Both Jeknavorians, Dulgarian and Vartabedian all serve on the Merrimack Valley Armenian Genocide Monument Committee and encouraged Rep. Tsongas to attend the event next spring.