By Michelle Hagopian
For those who don’t know, Middlesex County Sheriff Peter Koutoujian, a longtime advocate for and participant in the Armenian-American community, is running for Rep. Ed Markey’s now vacant House seat. He announced his campaign run recently and the ANCA has endorsed him, putting our full support behind one of our own.
This is huge. How many Armenians do you know of who have staged legitimate runs for the U.S. Congress? I can think of less than a handful. Peter is a strong voice for Armenian issues, including genocide recognition, and he would advance our cause to the national level if elected.
This week, Koutoujian came to the Hairenik Building in Watertown, Mass., to be interviewed by the Armenian Weekly and to meet the supporters from all of our sister organizations. The ANCA, ARS, ARF, AYF, Homenetmen, and Hamazkayin were all there to show Peter we have his back now and always. It was a great opportunity to chat with him and hear where he stands as a candidate.
He describes himself as a moderate Democrat and someone who is willing and able to work with anyone. Too often as voters, we get wrapped up in ideology and labels. I’ve seen it in ANCA work–people will call and tell me they can’t vote for a Democrat or Republican, or ask why the ANCA endorsed this person over this person.
When it comes to Armenian issues, party and affiliation should not matter. If someone is willing to push for our views and values on Capitol Hill and beyond, we should learn from them and embrace their efforts. Because they will be the one speaking on your behalf at a higher level.
That person right now is Peter Koutoujian. And he needs the support of the Armenian community in Massachusetts and across the country.
Fundraising is crucial, no doubt, but turning out to vote is even bigger. The 5th district of Massachusetts–the seat left open by Rep. Markey–is densely populated with Armenians. It covers Watertown, Belmont, Waltham, and Lexington, among other towns that hold the core of our community.
If you don’t know who Peter is by now, you’ve been living under a rock.
It’s time to wake up and help out one of our own. Peter is a friend to all and has strong values, a strong voice, and a chance to truly elevate all Armenians in our nation’s government.
The ANCA has endorsed him because he is very good on our issues, which are obviously your issues too. Why should you vote for Peter? For all of the reasons above and many more. He’s an approachable, friendly guy who thanks his supporters in Armenian and who has a long public service track record.
If you’re a business owner, why not invite Peter to come to your business and take a photograph to post on your walls? If you show you support him, you should encourage your friends and customers to support him, too.
If you’re a student or young person, why not get the word out on college campuses or in your summer programs that there’s an up-and-coming Armenian candidate in this special election? The youth play a huge role in not only registering voters but for mobilizing as volunteers on the campaign trail, by phone banking, knocking on doors, etc.
It doesn’t matter what you can or can’t offer. If you don’t have a few bucks to throw toward Peter’s campaign, that’s fine. What you can do is vote for him in the fall. That’s the most important factor. If you want to get involved in his campaign or voice your support, reach out to me at firstname.lastname@example.org.
Let’s get Peter to Capitol Hill. Support a fellow Armenian today.