The Armenian National Committee of America – Western Region (ANCA-WR) Board of Directors and Staff held a meeting with CA State Senator Anthony Portantino (D-25) to discuss ongoing issues related to the Armenian Cause and the further strengthening of relations between the State and Armenia and Artsakh.
“As part of our ongoing political outreach activities, we were happy to hold a productive meeting with Sen. Portantino to discuss our current priorities and issues of concern to the Armenian-American community, including his recent co-authored bill S B 57 allowing local agencies to divest from the Republic of Turkey,” remarked ANCA-WR Chair Nora Hovsepian, Esq. “We are grateful to Sen. Portantino for his many years of active work on behalf of his constituents, especially as it pertains to advancing the Armenian Cause and we look forward to working closely with him and his colleagues to pass this bill.”
In addition to the recent introduction of SB 457, Sen. Portantino’s commitment to justice for the Armenian nation through honest remembrance of the Armenian genocide has been seen in his crucial support for the passage of the Turkey Divestment Bill to end the public’s financing of genocide denial. It was in large part thanks to the leadership of Sen. Portantino as Chair of the Senate Appropriations Committee and as a member of the Senate Public Employment and Retirement Committee that the divestment bill was passed by the Senate, ending the funding of Ankara’s campaign of denial by prohibiting the investment of public funds in entities owned, controlled or managed by the Turkish government.
Since taking office in 2016, Sen. Portantino has worked tirelessly to advance the Armenian Cause, earning the honor of being named “Legislator of the Year” at the 2017 ANCA-WR Annual Gala Banquet. His service to the Armenian-American community includes spearheading the establishment of an historic state Select Committee on California, Armenia and Artsakh Mutual Trade, Art and Cultural Exchange which aims to expand business opportunities through trade, economic development, cultural awareness, and education between California, Armenia, and Artsakh.
In his capacity as chair of the Select Committee, Sen. Portantino has visited Armenia and Artsakh on multiple occasions, reiterating the commitment of the State of California to recognizing and securing the sovereignty and self-determination of the Artsakh Republic.
Prior to his election to the State Senate, Sen. Portantino served in the California State Assembly representing the 44th Assembly District from 2006-2012. During his time in the Assembly, Portantino was a passionate advocate for the Armenian American community, co-authoring state resolutions recognizing and commemorating the Armenian Genocide in Sacramento every year while in office.
In addition to promoting efforts to ensure justice for the Armenian people globally, Sen. Portantino has also been dedicated to producing results on issues of importance to local communities. Portantino’s leadership as Chair of the Senate Appropriations Committee resulted in the Armenian-American Museum securing an additional $3 million in state funding, and as Chair of the Budget Subcommittee on Education the Senator was able to secure $10 million in the 2017-18 state budget to help fund the History/Social Science curriculum framework, which included curriculum to ensure that young Californians and the next generation of Californian leaders are educated on the Armenian Genocide. Portantino has also made a direct appeal to the California Department of Education to ensure all people have their history represented in California’s ethnic studies curriculum.