Elected Officials and Staff to Discuss Community Organizing at ANCA Grassroots

The Armenian National Committee of America – Western Region announced today that the ANCA Grassroots Conference Hyevotes panel packed with distinguished elected officials, high level staffers and campaign veterans from all over California will discuss the nuts and bolts of civic engagement, community organizing and the impact of political campaigns and local activism.

The high level panel will include Assemblymember Adrin Nazarian, Los Angeles Councilmember Paul Krekorian, Glendale City Councilmember Zareh Sinanyan, Montebello City Councilmember Jack Hadjinian, Glendale City Treasurer Rafi Manoukian, Glendale City Clerk Ardy Kassahkian, Los Angeles Mayor Garcetti’s Manager of City Services Christine Jerian, Councilmember Krekorian’s Chief of Staff Areen Ibranossian and will be moderated by ANCA Western Region Executive Director and former ANCA Hye Votes Campaign Director, Elen Asatryan.

“We are so proud to have such a distinguished panel of Armenian Americans who serve as shining examples of how our youth can succeed in politics, how our communities can harness their political strength and how we can all organize to make our collective voices heard on issues of importance to our Cause,” stated ANCA WR Chair, Nora Hovsepian.

Assemblymember Adrin Nazarian was elected to the California State Assembly in November of 2012 to represent the 46th Assembly District, which consists of cities of Hollywood Hills, Lake Balboa, North Hills, Panorama City, Sherman Oaks, Studio City, Toluca Lake, Valley Glen, Van Nuys and Universal City. Nazarian currently sits on five standing committees: Budget, Education, Health, Rules and Transportation.  In addition, he has been appointed by the Speaker of the Assembly to be a member of the State Allocation Board, where he approves state bond funding for school facilities.

In just his first year in the CA Assembly, Nazarian fought for and promoted the recognition of the Armenian Genocide, assisted with the ANCA Advocacy Day in Sacramento, protested SOCAR’s visit to the State Capitol, and worked closely with his colleague Assemblymemner Katcho Achadjian and the ANCA WR in organizing the first CA official delegation to Armenian and Artsakh in September 2013

A graduate of Ferrahian Armenian School, Nazarian also participated in the prestigious CORO Fellowship in Public Affairs program, served as an aide to Congressman Brad Sherman (D-CA), was appointed to be the Special Assistant to the California Trade and Commerce Agency by Governor Gray Davis, helped establish the Division of Science Technology and Innovation, and served as a chief of staff to then-Assistant Majority Leader Paul Krekorian in the California State legislature.

Los Angeles Councilmember Paul Krekorian was elected to his current post in 2009, serving the Los Angeles second City Council district as the first Armenian American to sit on the council. In just a few years’ time, Krekorian worked with his colleagues on the council to introduce Armenian Genocide Resolutions, spearheaded the establishment of the Los Angeles-Shushi Friendship City, coined October as Armenian Heritage Month in the City of Los Angeles, and led the successful motion to add the Armenian language to the city’s election materials.

Prior to Council, Krekorian was elected to the California State Assembly, serving his last term as the Assistant Majority Leader.  In his first term, he authored the highest number of bills signed into law of any freshman legislator.  As a member of the Assembly, Krekorian created a program dubbed “Government at your Doorstep”. During his time in office, Paul and his staff knocked on more than 3,000 doors in his District and responded to complaints about speeding, graffiti, and noise pollution in order to alleviate concerns – large and small. Before serving on the Assembly, Krekorian served as the President of the Burbank Board of Education and was heavily involved in the ANCA Burbank Chapter.

Glendale City Councilmember Zareh Sinanyan was elected into office in April of 2013, representing the third largest city in the Los Angeles County. Since 1999, Zareh has volunteered as a poll watcher at many of the local elections that have been held in Glendale. In 2006, he was appointed to Glendale’s Parks, Recreation and community Service’s Commission, helping upgrade and open several parks in South Glendale. Since 2008, he has served as a commissioner for the Glendale’s Community Development Block Grant Advisory Commission, chairing the commission from 2009-2011.  Currently, Zareh is the principal of the Law Offices of Zareh J. Sinanyan, and has practiced as a civil litigator since 2001, focusing on Real Estate litigation and Professional Liability Defense work.   Sinanyan has been a longtime ANCA activist, continuously serving on the various local ANCA boards for the past ten years. He also served as an ANCA Western Region board member and Treasurer for two years and provided assistance in all major local elections since 2000.

A graduate of Mesrobian Armenian School, Montebello City Councilmember Jack Hadjinian was elected to serve in November of 2011. He currently serves as a lifetime member for the California Highway Patrol 11-99 Foundation, the California Association of Realtors, National Association of Realtors, and Montebello Board of Realtors.as well as the vice-Chairman of the Alameda Corridor East-Construction Authority, and is a member of the Board of Directors of Gateway Cities Council of Governments and the Board of Governors of San Gabriel Valley Council of Governments. Prior to office, Chair of the Montebello Chamber of Commerce and Industry, Chair of Civil Service Commission of the City of Montebello, and as a member of the ANCA San Gabriel Valley Board of Directors for 10 years.

Glendale City Treasurer Rafi Manoukian was elected into office April of 2013. In April of 1999, Manoukian was elected to Glendale City Council after prompting the registration of over 10,000 new Armenian-American voters and was re-elected in 2003 as the highest vote getter. As councilmember, he served as Chair of the Housing Authority and the Redevelopment Agency. He served as mayor from 2002-2003, and 2005-2006.

Manoukian was also the past Chair of ANCA Glendale and a past member of Arroyo Verdugo Cities, Glendale Youth Alliance Board of Directors, Glendale Chamber of Commerce and the Glendale Sister City Program.

Glendale City Clerk Ardy Kassahkian was elected to office in April of 2005. He became the first person to be elected City Clerk in an open election in Glendale in 75 years. His landslide victory in a field of candidates made him the youngest person to ever hold public office in Glendale. Kassakhian has run a number of local, state and federal Get Out the Vote efforts, as well as campaigns for numerous candidates seeking public office. Ardy continues to lecture around the country on political organizing and grassroots politics. He is currently working on developing a long range strategic plan for reforming election processes in Glendale and raising voter participation in municipal elections.

Previously, Kassakhian served as the Government Relations and later Executive Director of the ANCA Western Region.

Councilmember Paul Krekorian’s Chief of Staff Areen Ibranossian works closely with the Councilman on all aspects of his policy portfolio, which includes Budget & Finance, MTA, Economic Development, and Transportation issues. In addition to a comprehensive role on the policy front, he also helps ensure that all aspects of the Councilman’s constituent services, communications and planning efforts are made seamlessly and effectively.

Areen has extensive background in campaigns and communications, having worked for numerous campaigns from the local to the national level. His political resume includes work for President Barack Obama’s 2008 campaign, Congressman Adam Schiff, Mayor Antonio Villaraigosa, in addition to a host of other local and state campaigns. Prior to joining Council District 2, Areen served as campaign manager for Councilman Krekorian’s successful council bid in 2009. Before that, he worked with Mayor Antonio Villaraigosa’s administration for four years as a Special Assistant to the Mayor, as well as a budget analyst in the Mayor’s budget and finance shop.

Los Angeles Mayor Garcetti’s Manager of City Services Christine Jerian works to seek solutions on a city-wide scale for the residents of Los Angeles. Prior to joining the office of the Mayor, Christine had already established a professional career in public service including working for the Department of Neighborhood Empowerment helping to organize communities in Los Angeles, the Southern California Associations of Governments, and the Campaign for College Opportunity.

Currently serving as the Executive Director of the ANCA WR, the moderator for the Hye Votes Panel, Elen Asatryan, oversees policy development and day-to-day operations for the organization.  Previously, Asatryan was involved in local, state and federal voter registration, candidate, and get out the vote campaigns and served as the Executive Director of ANCA Glendale for 6 years.  More recently, since 2011, Asatryan divided her time between ANCA Glendale and various positions at the ANCA WR including Field Director and Hye Votes Campaign Director.  In January 2013, Asatryan took a leave of absence to run the successful campaign of Zareh Sinanyan for Glendale City Council.

The successful ANCA Grassroots Conference will return on Thanksgiving Weekend, this time in the heart of Hollywood at Loews Hotel. The event brings together academicians, artists, historians, legal experts and political officials who will make presentations about varied topics regarding the myriad aspects of the pursuit of Hye Tad.

The conference is open to the community, but requires registration. Register now by visitingitsmyseat.com/ANCAWR or by calling 818.500.1918. To obtain updates on the conference, like the ANCA Western Region Facebook page or visit ancawr.org.

The ANCA Grassroots Conference will bookend the annual ANCA Gala Banquet, which will take place on Saturday, November 30 at the Roy Dolby Ballroom and will feature a special menu created for the banquet by renowned chef Wolfgang Puck.

This year’s honorees include, Los Angeles Mayor Eric Garcetti, Primate of Artsakh Archbishop Barkev Martirosyan, Legendary Coach Jerry Tarkanian, Lifelong Philanthropist Manas Boujikian, Assemblymember Katcho Achadjian, and Activist and Filmmaker Ara Soudjian.

The Armenian National Committee of America-Western Region is the largest and most influential Armenian American grassroots advocacy organization in the Western United States. Working in coordination with a network of offices, chapters, and supporters throughout the Western United States and affiliated organizations around the country, the ANCA-WR advances the concerns of the Armenian American community on a broad range of issues.

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