Category Archives: Politics

Commissioner Mark Samuelian Celebration of Life Service

MIAMI BEACH, FL – Florida Armenians (FLArmenians) deeply mourns the sudden passing of Miami Beach Commissioner Mark Samuelian, who passed away surrounded by family and loved ones on June 22, 2022. He was 58 years old. Samuelian was a beloved member of the South Florida Armenian American community. Originally from Boston, MA, Samuelian moved to Miami Beach in 2003 and was immediately active in his local community.

Samuelian had just been reelected to his seat in 2021 after winning for the first time in 2017 on a “resident first” agenda, NBC News Chanel 6 Miami reported.

“Samuelian was the first Armenian American elected in Miami Dade County,” stated FLArmenians Editor Arsine Kaloustian. We are so grateful for his years of steadfast service and his lasting contributions to Miami Beach and to the South Florida Armenian American community. His loss will be felt not only regionally, but throughout the state,,” Kaloustian said.

Miami Beach Mayor Dan Gelber said Samuelian was a “superb colleague and dedicated public servant.” Miami Dade County Mayor Daniella Levine Cava said his death is a “profound loss for our entire community.”

A Celebration of Life of Mark Samuelian will be held on Monday, July 11 at 4:00pm at the New World Center, 500 17 Street, Miami Beach, FL 33139. Public parking is available in the city garage at 640 17th St, Miami Beach, FL 33139.

You can watch online as the event will be LIVE STREAMED on the City of Miami Beach’s Facebook Page at 4:00pm.

FLArmenians Elections Center: 2022 Special & Municipal Election Endorsements in South Florida

BOCA RATON, FL – Florida Armenians is pleased to announce our endorsements for the upcoming 2022 special and municipal elections taking place in Broward and Palm Beach Counties on March 8, 2022.

SPECIAL ELECTIONS: STATE SENATE & STATE HOUSE

Senate District 33 (SD-33)

  • Rosalind Osgood (D)

House District 88 (HD-88)

  • Jervonte “Tae” Edmonds (D)

House District 94 (HD-94)

  • Daryl Campbell (D) (unopposed)

Daryl Campbell won the Democrat Party’s primary election on January 11, 2022 and since no Republican filed to run Campbell was automatically elected to the HD-94 State House seat.

BROWARD COUNTY MUNICIPAL ELECTIONS

Hillsboro Beach

  • Commissioner At-Large: Jane Reiser

Lauderdale-By-The-Sea

  • Commission District 2: Randy Strauss

Lighthouse Point

  • Commission District 1: Patty Petrone
  • Commission District 2: Troy Ganter
  • Commission District 3: Jason Joffe

Pembroke Pines

  • Commission District 1: Thomas “Tom” Good
  • Commission District 4: Angelo Castillo

PALM BEACH COUNTY MUNICIPAL ELECTIONS

Boynton Beach

  • Mayor: Ty Penserga
  • Commission District 1: Angela Cruz
  • Commissioner District 3: Marit Hedeen

Greenacres

  • Council District 2: Nathan Galang
  • Council District 3: Judy Dugo
  • Council District 4: Suzy Diaz

Lake Worth Beach

  • Commission District 4: Craig Frost

Jupiter

  • Mayor: Ilan Kaufer
  • Council District 1: Cheryl Schneider

North Palm Beach

  • Council Group 1: Deborah Searcy
  • Council Group 3: Darryl Aubrey
  • Council Group 5: Mark Mullinix

Wellington

  • Council Seat 2: Tanya Siskind
  • Council Seat 3: John T. McGovern

West Palm Beach

  • Commission District 1: Cathleen Ward
  • Commission District 3: Christy Fox (unopposed)
  • Commission District 5: Christina Lambert (unopposed)

Municipal elections in the State of Florida are non-partisan. If you’re interested in learning more about the candidates, FLArmenians encourages you to visit the candidate websites and learn more about each candidate on the ballot in your area. Also, The Palm Beach Post’s Hannah Morse has an excellent article breaking down of all the races in Palm Beach County with details on early voting locations and additional background on the candidates.

For specific information about voting, such as registering, changing party affiliation, updating address records, and more, please visit the Broward County Supervisor of Elections website and the Palm Beach County Supervisor of Elections website.

Additional endorsements may be added.

New Poll Finds More Armenians Feel Country is Going in the Wrong Direction

By Harut Sassounian

Syndicated Columnist

The Washington-based International Republican Institute’s public opinion poll, conducted November 22-December 5, 2021, measured the Armenian population’s views on political, economic, and security issues. The survey was funded by the U.S. Agency for International Development.

The poll revealed a key finding: 46% of the population thinks that “Armenia is headed in the wrong direction,” while only 34% thinks that the country is headed in “the right direction.” This indicates that Prime Minister Nikol Pashinyan’s often-repeated boast that he enjoys “the people’s mandate” is not necessarily so. This is a significant shift from the 54% of the votes the Prime Minister’s political party received in the June 20, 2021 parliamentary elections. More importantly, the number of those who think that Armenia is headed in the wrong direction increased from 20% in May 21, 2021 to 34% in July 2021 and 46% in December 2021.

However, on another important question, “Do you believe that you or people like you can influence decisions made in our country,” 66% said yes, while 33% said no. This is definitely a positive indication for the authorities.

The next question: “Are you satisfied or dissatisfied with the way democracy is developing in our country?” the country was almost evenly split: 51% yes and 47% no.

To the question: “Do you consider our country to be governed in the interest of the majority of people or in the interest of some groups?” 61% said it was governed in the interest of “some groups,” while only 31% said it was governed in the interest of “the majority.” This reflects negatively on the current government.
On the positive side, 66% of the people surveyed said they are “not afraid of openly expressing their opinions,” while 31% said they were afraid to do so.
To the question: “How satisfied or dissatisfied are you with the work of the following state bodies?” the top approval was given to Pashinyan government’s frequent critic, Human Rights Defender’s (Ombudsman’s) office (68% satisfied vs. 25% dissatisfied); the police (68% vs. 29%); local governments (63% vs. 33%); armed forces (58% vs. 37%); Central Electoral Commission (57% vs. 33%); and National Security Service (50% vs. 41%). The Prime Minister’s office came in 7th place with 49% satisfied vs. 48% dissatisfied. The Armenian Parliament came in 16th place with 31% satisfied and a whopping 67% dissatisfied. This is not surprising as the parliament’s televised sessions frequently show scenes of shouting matches, insults, and physical altercations ending with abrupt orders by the parliament’s leadership representing the Prime Minister’s political party to turn off the TV cameras to hide the disorderly conduct of the rowdy parliamentarians.

Turning to foreign policy issues, those surveyed ranked France on top with 92% as having the best relationship with Armenia. Then came Iran (80%); the United States (77%); China (75%); European Union (69%); Russia (64%); Georgia (58%); UK (47%); other (10%); Turkey (5%); and Azerbaijan at the very bottom with 3%.

When asked “Which two countries were the most important political partners for Armenia?” Russia (57%); France (50%); the U.S. (38%); Iran (23%); European Union (5%); China (5%); Georgia (3%); and India (1%).

In response to “Which two countries are the most important economic partners of Armenia?” Russia again came first with 61%; Iran (40%); (China (29%); the U.S. (16%); France (14%); Georgia (8%); European Union (7%); India (2%); and Turkey (2%).

When asked “Which 2 countries are the most important security partners for Armenia?” the answers were: Russia (64%); France (32%); Iran (31%); the U.S. (26%); European Union (5%); China (4%); Georgia (2%); and India (1%).

“Which 2 countries are the greatest political threat to Armenia?” The survey respondents said: Turkey (90%); Azerbaijan (77%); Russia (15%); UK (3%); Israel (2%); the U.S, (2%); and Georgia (1%).

“Which 2 countries are the biggest economic threat to Armenia?” Survey respondents said: Turkey (68%); Azerbaijan (52%); Russia (17%); Georgia (10%); Iran (4%); the U.S. (1%); China (1%); and European Union (1%).

“Which 2 countries are the greatest security threat to Armenia?” Survey respondents said: Turkey (88%); Azerbaijan (81%); Russia (11%); Iran (2%); the U.S. (2%); Israel (2%); Georgia (1%); France (1%); and UK (1%).

“The relationship with which 2 countries needs to be improved for the development of Armenia?” The survey respondents said: Russia (53%); the U.S. (35%); Iran (29%); France (25%); China (15%); European Union (9%); Georgia (7%); Turkey (5%); Azerbaijan (4%); India (1%); and UK (1%).

The survey then asked if the respondents agreed or disagreed with the following three questions:

  • 73% agreed and 25% disagreed that “Armenia should start a dialog with Turkey and normalize bilateral relations, while pursuing the agenda of recognition of the Armenian Genocide by Turkey.”
  • 70% agreed and 27% disagreed that “Armenia must establish bilateral relations with Turkey by putting forward its own preconditions such as Turkey’s non-hindrance of peace in Artsakh.”
  • 44% agreed and 53% disagreed that “Under no circumstances Armenia should pursue normalization of relations with Turkey.”

Most survey respondents disagreed with Pashinyan that opening roads with Azerbaijan is beneficial to Armenia. When asked: “How will the opening of transport routes with Azerbaijan impact Armenia’s economic development?” 27% gave a positive answer; 59% negative.

The same is true for Turkey. When asked: “How will the opening of transport routes with Turkey impact Armenia’s economic development?” 35% gave a positive answer; 53% negative.

When asked: “How important is the resolution to the Artsakh conflict for the future of Armenia in the next 10 years?” The overwhelming 96 % said “important”; 3% “unimportant.”

The survey asked: “What would be an acceptable solution of the Artsakh conflict?”

  • 35% said: “Recognition of Artsakh as an independent state.”
  • 34% said: “The unification of Artsakh with Armenia as a region of the Republic of Armenia.”
  • 16% said: “Establishment of the status of the Artsakh Autonomous Region within Armenia.”
  • 11% said: “Establishment of the status of Artsakh within Russia.”
  • 1% said: “Maintaining the current status quo.”

When asked: “Is Armenia able to independently defend its borders with Azerbaijan, without the help of any other country?” 46% said yes; 53% no.

Finally, when asked: “Which country would you prefer to assist Armenia in defending its borders?” 47% said Russia; the U.S. (18%); France (14%); Iran (8%); China (2%); European Union (1%); all three Minsk Group countries of Russia, the U.S., France (1%); and NATO (1%).

Whether we agree or disagree, these are the answers that the people of Armenia gave. It reflects their current mindset.