Mari Manoogian, who received the endorsement of the Armenian National Committee of America (ANCA), is now the State Representative for Michigan’s 40th district. Manoogian defeated her opponent, former Michigan GOP vice chair David Wolkinson 57 percent to 43 percent in the midterm elections.
The ANC of Michigan has been an ardent supporter of Manoogian since she announced her candidacy last year. “We are so incredibly excited to have Mari in office because we know that she will work to create real change in our district, representing the view of Armenian-Americans and others in the 40th district,” said Lara Nercessian, ANC of Michigan Chairwoman.
Manoogian, who was born and raised in Birmingham, Michigan, has been an active member of her community for years. After high school she attended George Washington University where she earned her degree from the Elliott School of International Affairs. She spent years working in Washington – on the Hill, at the U.S. Mission to the United Nations and finally, in the U.S. Department of State – while completing a graduate degree in Global Communication at GW and returning to Michigan to begin her campaign.
Manoogian, a great-grandchild of survivors of the Armenian Genocide, is an active resident of the Metro Detroit area where she attended the Armenian Relief Society (ARS) Zavarian Armenian language school in Troy for 10 years, participated in the St. Nersess Armenian Seminary summer conferences and was active in the Armenian Youth Federation (AYF) and Armenian Church Youth Organization of America (ACYOA). As an active member of the AGBU Young Professionals in Detroit, she has worked at AYF Camp Haiastan in Massachusetts and Hye Camp in Illinois.
I am grateful for the support of the ANCA, and the Armenian-American community throughout my campaign,” said Manoogian. “I look forward to representing the people of the 40th District and our community in the Michigan state legislature.”
Manoogian, who received an array of endorsements from federal, state and local leaders including President Barack Obama, Senator Gary Peters and Governor-Elect Gretchen Whitmer, also received multiple endorsements from local media, union and civic organizations.
Meantime, Lorig Charkoudian is now the first Armenian-American in recent memory, and perhaps ever, to serve in the Maryland state legislature. The Democratic candidate for Maryland’s House of Delegates was elected to serve as one of the three delegates for District 20.
“We are so excited to have Lorig in a leadership position in Maryland’s House of Delegates and celebrate her win as she works to advance issues and voice concerns that matter to the residents in her district including Armenian Americans,” said ANCA Eastern Region Board Chairman Steve Mesrobian.
Charkoudian, originally from Newton, Massachusetts, has been in public service for more than two decades and hails from a politically active family. As the Executive Director of Community Mediation Maryland and the impetus behind the growth of the Crossroads Farmer’s Market and the Takoma Park Silver Spring Commercial Kitchen, Charkoudian has worked tirelessly for the residents of District 20.
Charkoudian’s grandparents were survivors of the Armenian Genocide, and her family has had strong ties to the Armenian American communities in both Maryland and Massachusetts for decades. Charkoudian’s father Levon Charkoudian was Commissioner of the Massachusetts Department of Community Affairs and served under Governor Francis Sargent. Her mother Bethel Bilezikian Charkoudian was active in the Civil Rights Movement of the 1960s and serves on the Newton Parks and Recreation Commission.
Lorig earned a doctorate in economics from Johns Hopkins University and is the mother of Aline and Raffi who were instrumental in the success of her campaign. “We ran a grassroots campaign motivated by a commitment to building a more just and inclusive Maryland. I am excited to take this energy to Annapolis and begin turning this vision into legislation,” said Charkoudian.