By FLArmenians Editorial Board
BOCA RATON, FL – Florida Armenians is pleased to announce our endorsements in the upcoming Boca Raton municipal elections. The City of Boca Raton 2017 Municipal Election will be held on Tuesday, March 14, 2017. Polls will be open 7:00 am to 7:00 pm. Electors of the City will vote for candidates for Mayor, City Council Seat A, and City Council Seat B.
MAYOR OF BOCA RATON:
Susan Haynie (Incumbent)
BOCA RATON CITY COUNCIL SEAT A:
Scott Singer (Incumbent)
BOCA RATON CITY COUNCIL SEAT B:
Andrea Levine O’Rourke
Mayor Haynie and Councilman Singer have been friends of the Armenian community of Boca Raton for many years. Last year, Mayor Haynie, Councilman Singer, and others on the City Council introduced and passed a resolution commemorating the 100th anniversary of the Armenian Genocide.
In addition, both Haynie and Singer have served the city well in their first term in office and deserve re-election. Haynie has helped guide the city, manage sustainable growth, and boosted a pro-jobs environment. Singer has been a strong advocate for citizen activism and participation in government, as evidenced by his many in-person and telephone town-halls.
In the open race to succeed term-limited Councilman Mike Mullaugh, Emily Gentile is the clear choice. She has the strongest record of city involvement and activism – having served in leadership positions on over a dozen city boards, civic groups, and local charities – unlike her opponent Andrea O’Rourke who has limited community involvement, and Andy Thomson who moved to Boca Raton 7 months ago and hasn’t served on a single city board. O’Rourke and Thomson represent two extremes of the anti-growth and anti-development vs pro-growth and pro-development political spectrum, respectively; whereas Gentile takes a balanced approach, mindful of all parties and interests, and will add decades of knowledge and experience in community affairs and problem solving to the city council.
Councilman Mullaugh, as well as former Massachusetts Senate Majority Leader Linda Melconian who helped spearhead the state’s Armenian Genocide education curriculum, have endorsed Emily Gentile for Boca City Council, among others. She recently visited St. David Armenian Church in Boca Raton, FL and met with dozens of community members.
Florida Armenians is proud to endorse these great community leaders and looks forward to working with them in the years to come.
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.