By Arsine Kaloustian
FLArmenians Managing Editor
After a decade spent in Washington, D.C., the Armenian Assembly of America’s former Director of Communications, Taniel Shant, is now the Republican nominee for Palm Beach County Commission District 5, in South Florida. He is also the only Armenian to appear on the ballot in Florida.
Taniel has spent his entire adult life in public service. One year after he moved to Washington, D.C. he found himself battling the Turkish Lobby and the Azerbaijani Lobby. He worked with our friends in Congress to hold the Bush and Obama Administrations accountable. Throughout his tenure, he advanced various pieces of legislation in Congress and at the state level dealing with Armenian Genocide recognition and Holocaust education, global human rights abuses, international religious freedom, anti-genocide initiatives (Darfur, Sudan; Syria; Iraq), protection of Christians in the Middle East, appropriations, U.S. foreign assistance, and many others.
He holds a Bachelor’s degree in Political Science from Florida Atlantic University and a Master’s degree in Political Management from The George Washington University. Mr. Shant possesses an impressive pedigree – particularly when gazed at through the lens of the Armenian American community. Not only was Mr. Shant the founder of Florida Armenians, the largest statewide Armenian organization in Florida, but he successfully led the effort to pass a resolution in the Florida State Senate recognizing the Armenian Genocide in 2013.
Armenian American political candidates have always been sparse – and too often, they have proved to be unviable. Mr. Shant’s first time candidacy, however, is proving itself as a force to be reckoned with, having raised over $40,000 in four month’s time – officially the most money ever raised by a Republican candidate in this seat. Mr. Shant is rapidly garnering the backing of Armenian communities throughout the country – Florida, New Jersey, New York, California, New Hampshire, Virginia, Maryland, Washington D.C., Georgia, Massachusetts, and more.
Time after time, I’ve heard Armenians complain that U.S. leaders are not doing enough for Armenian issues, and that we need more Armenians in government. Today, I’m pleased to tell you that we have a tried and tested community leader stepping up to the stage for us, and for all the people in Palm Beach County. Taniel fought on Capitol Hill on behalf of the Armenian American community; and now the Armenian American community has a chance to have one of our own represent us as an elected official. It is time to let our actions speak louder than our words, and show him our support.
By Taniel Koushakjian
FLArmenians Managing Editor
Florida Armenians is pleased to announce our endorsements for the 2014 elections. The endorsement list below is categorized by federal, state, and county races. Overall, Florida Armenians has endorsed 25 Republicans and 13 Democrats in a variety of races, including some challengers.
Champions of Armenian issues in Florida include Congressman Gus Bilirakis (R-FL), who was recently named Vice Chair of the Congressional Caucus on Armenian Issues. In the Florida State Senate, Florida Armenians enthusiastically support Senator Jack Latvala (R-Pinellas), who introduced and managed the successful passage of the first Armenian Genocide resolution in the Florida State Senate in 2013.
Noticeably absent from our endorsement list is a candidate for Florida Governor. Unfortunately, neither current Governor Rick Scott (R-FL) nor former Governor Charlie Crist (D-FL) was proactive on Armenian issues during their administration. In addition, both candidates refrained from issuing statements to the Florida Armenian community.
Also, Florida Armenians would like to highlight Garo Artinian, who is running for Northern Palm Beach County Improvement District Seat 2. Mr. Artinian is the only Armenian American on the ballot in Florida.
FLORIDA VOTER INFORMATION
To help give you an idea of what to expect on Election Day, here are links to sample ballots for Broward County, Miami-Dade County, Palm Beach County, and Pinellas County. Polls are open from 7:00 AM to 7:00 PM. Florida has two time zones. As such, election results will be released at 8:00 PM EST. If you don’t know where to go, you can find your closest polling station online by entering your address at your local county government website. For more information about voting in Florida, click here.
FLORIDA ARMENIANS 2014 ELECTION ENDORSEMENTS
- District 1: Jeff Miller (R-FL)
- District 3: Ted Yoho (R-FL)
- District 5: Corrine Brown (D-FL)
- District 11: Rich Nugent (R-FL)
- District 12: Gus Bilirakis (R-FL)
- District 13: David Jolly (R-FL)
- District 14: Kathy Castor (D-FL)
- District 15: Dennis Ross (R-FL)
- District 21: Ted Deutch (D-FL)
- District 22: Lois Frankel (D-FL)
- District 24: Frederica Wilson (D-FL)
- District 25: Mario Diaz-Bolart (R-FL)
- District 26: Carlos Curbelo (R-FL)*
- Attorney General: Pam Bondi (R)
- Chief Financial Officer: Jeff Atwater (R)
- Commissioner of Agriculture: Adam Putnam (R)
- HD-64: James Grant (R-FL)
- HD-66: Chris Latvala (R-FL)*
- HD-68: Bill Young (R-FL)*
- HD-69: Kathleen Peters (D-FL)
- HD-70: Daryl Rouson (D-FL)
- HD-81: Kevin Rader (D-FL)
- HD-82: MaryLynn Magar (R-FL)
- HD-88: Bobby Powell (D-FL)
- HD-91: Irving Slosberg (D-FL)
- HD-92: Gwendolen Clarke-Reed (D-FL)
- HD-93: George Moraitis (R-FL)
- HD-95: Hazelle Rogers (D-FL)
- HD-96: Kristin Jacobs (D-FL)
- HD-103: Manny Diaz, Jr. (R-FL)
- HD-105: CarlosTrujillo (R-FL)
- HD-116: Jose Felix Diaz (R-FL)
- SD-20: Jack Latvala (R-FL)
- SD-22: Jeff Brandes (R-FL)
- SD-32: Joe Negron (R-FL)
- SD-36: Oscar Braynon II (D-FL)
- Palm Beach County Commission District 4: Steven L. Abrams
- Broward County Commission District 4: Chip LaMarca
- Northern Palm Beach County Improvement District 2: Garo Artinian
* Denotes challenger
The following is a public service announcement from Florida Armenians, LLC:
Florida Armenians highly encourages our officers, members, friends and supporters across the great State of Florida to exercise your democratic right and vote in today’s state party primary election. It is crucial that every Armenian American in Florida participate and, together, we can make our voices heard in both Tallahassee and Washington, D.C.