Rep. Speier at Genocide Memorial Signing

Armenian Assembly to Honor Rep. Jackie Speier at National Advocacy Conference and Gala

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WASHINGTON — The Armenian Assembly of America will honor Rep. Jackie Speier (D-CA) for her exemplary work as a United States Representative, as well as her dedication, commitment, and passionate support of United States-Armenia relations. She will be recognized at the Assembly’s Gala on Monday, September 16 as part of the Assembly’s National Advocacy Conference.

Speier has been a member of the House of Representative for more than a decade. She is a tireless advocate for women’s rights, the public good, and the security of Americans. Among the many congressional caucuses that she supports, Speier is a co-chair of the Congressional Caucus on Armenian Issues, the Unexploded Ordnance (UXO)/Demining Caucus, and the Democratic Women’s Caucus. Newsweek listed her as one of its 150 “Fearless Women” in the world.

Rep. Speier and Annie Totah

As chairwoman of the House Armed Services Committee Military Personnel Subcommittee and a member of the House Permanent Select Committee on Intelligence, she has worked to ensure that legislators care for and support servicemembers and their families, keep the United States secure from terrorists and hostile nations, to honor and support veterans, and save taxpayers millions by fighting for improved cyber defenses and sound management practices at the Pentagon. On these committees and in her previous assignments, she has led numerous investigations to protect the public by exposing corruption and dysfunction.

Speier was the first member of Congress to advocate for fundamental reforms to end the epidemic of sexual assault in the military and on college campuses, and she is leading the fight against sexism in the fields of science and technology. During the last Congress, she led an effort to overhaul sexual harassment protections for members of the congressional workforce, and she is also at the forefront of efforts to end discrimination and close the gender pay gap through ratification of the Equal Rights Amendment and passage of the Paycheck Fairness Act.

“Congresswoman Jackie Speier’s work in Congress is impressive. She is highly respected by her colleagues and is a tireless advocate for her constituents, state, and country. As one of the Co-Chairs of the Armenian Caucus, and as an Armenian American in the House, Congresswoman Speier is also making a difference for Armenia and successfully secured an additional $40 million in democracy assistance to Armenia in a House Appropriations Bill.  She is more than deserving of this award, and we look forward to celebrating her achievements,” stated Assembly Co-Chairs Anthony Barsamian and Van Krikorian.

Last month, the US House of Representatives adopted an amendment offered by Speier to H.R. 2740 – the Labor, Health and Human Services, Education, Legislative Branch, Defense, State, Foreign Operations, and Energy and Water Development Appropriations Act of 2020 – to provide $40 million to Armenia for democracy assistance. The following week, she joined Armenian Caucus Co-Chair Rep. Frank Pallone, Jr. (D-NJ) as an original co-sponsor for H. Res. 296 praising Armenia’s democracy and reaffirming the critical importance of the partnership between the US and Armenia.

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“I appreciate the important work of the Armenian Assembly of America in helping advance US-Armenia relations and urging support for Armenia’s democracy. The United States and Armenia have very strong shared democratic values, which is what inspired my amendment,” stated Speier. “I believe that the best days of our relationship are still ahead as we work together to build Armenia’s blossoming democracy.”

Throughout her time in office, Speier has worked tirelessly to keep Armenia and Artsakh at the top of the congressional agenda. During her tenure in Congress, she has co-sponsored multiple resolutions reaffirming America’s storied history of recognizing the Armenian Genocide, supported humanitarian assistance to Armenia and Artsakh, encouraged visits and communication between the US and Artsakh at all levels of civil society and government, urged Turkey to safeguard its Christian heritage and to return confiscated church properties, condemned Azerbaijan for its ceasefire violations against Armenia and Artsakh, as well as its anti-Armenian pogroms in Sumgait, Baku and Kirovabad, and strongly supported life-saving programs to remove ordnance, mines, and other explosive remnants of war left on battlefields around the world, including in Artsakh.

She had faced a long, difficult road before becoming a member of Congress. Early in her career, she was a legislative aid for the late Congressman Leo J. Ryan, Jr. Speier traveled with Ryan on a trip to Jonestown in 1978 at the compound of the People’s Temple, a cult in Guyana that had previously been based in his San Francisco district, in an attempt to rescue some of the cult’s 900 members. Ryan was tragically shot to death, and Speier was left nearly lifeless herself on the airport tarmac after being shot five times at point blank range. Following her near-death experience, she fought hard and made a name for herself in the political sphere.

Speier won her first election in 1980 when she ran for the San Mateo County Board of Supervisors and defeated a 20-year incumbent. At the time, she was the youngest person ever elected to the board. She was reelected in 1984, and was later selected as chairwoman. Speier also served in the California State Assembly and State Senate until winning her congressional seat in 2008.

During her 18 years in both chambers of the California Legislature, she had more than 300 bills signed into law by Republican and Democratic governors. Some of her highest-profile efforts secured justice for women and children, including a series of bills that led to the collection of more than $2 billion in delinquent court-ordered child support payments. She also authored a measure that gave the state the nation’s strongest financial privacy law.

“The Armenian Assembly of America is proud to honor Congresswoman Jackie Speier as a role model for all Americans. Her support for a democratic Armenia aligns perfectly with America’s fundamental values, as well as the Assembly’s mission in support of democracy, rule of law, and good governance,” stated Assembly Executive Director Bryan Ardouny. “We strongly urge our nationwide activists to participate in this year’s National Advocacy Conference as we highlight Armenia’s democratic reforms and honor Congresswoman Speier.”

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