LOS ANGELES – (September 19, 2023) – As Azerbaijan today launched an offensive in the Nagorno-Karabakh region and declared an evacuation of ethnic Armenians in the area, Democratic Congressional candidate for California’s District 30, Dr. Jirair Ratevosian, announced his five-point action plan to better engage on issues important to Armenian Americans and United States/Armenia relations. This plan comes as a direct result of Ratevosian’s recent visit to Armenia, where he led a humanitarian fact-finding mission to Yerevan and the Armenia-Azerbaijan border and was able to witness the illegal blockade of the Lachin Corridor. Ratevosian is the first congressional candidate in this race to release a plan for Armenia.
“In light of Azerbaijan’s ethnic cleansing of Armenians, it is imperative that the United States act immediately to stop an ongoing humanitarian crisis. My Armenia action plan lays out how, when elected and on day one, I will tackle issues that are not only important to the tens of thousands of Armenian Americans who live in the 30th District of California, a constituency personally important to me as the son of parents that immigrated from Armenia but to all the residents of the district,” said Candidate Ratevosian. “My Armenia action plan is the first step in the broader foreign policy plan that I will work to enact that protects human rights and promotes democracy globally as the next Representative from the district. From supporting Armenians under attack in Nagorno-Karabakh to advocating for new direct flight routes between LAX and Yerevan, any candidate looking to represent Armenian Americans in Congress must have an informed and action-oriented plan to execute on day one – I don’t see that from any other candidate in this race.”
Under his plan, Ratevosian will:
- Enhance U.S.-Armenia relations by supporting Armenia’s pivot to the West through the support of joint military exercises and cooperation on priority areas including technology, renewable energy, democracy promotion, and public health. Ensure US policy recognizes security and democracy in Armenia, contributes to regional stability, and is in the strategic interest of the United States.
- Triple bilateral assistance to Armenians over three years through Congressional appropriations. The United States should enhance its support for security assistance and expand support for rural education programs, Peace Corps in Armenia, joint research, and scientific collaboration opportunities between universities in Yerevan and California.
- Expand federal resources for Los Angeles and build Armenian-American influence through the expansion of fellowships for Armenian-American students to work in Congress and across the U.S. government, increase the hiring of Armenian-American staffers across all branches of government, and ultimately support more Armenian Americans to run for office. Expand federal resources for Armenian-American community enrichment efforts and programs in Los Angeles and support the creation of a new nonstop route between LAX and Yerevan. Further, work with research institutions and diplomatic community stakeholders to grow the influence of the Congressional Armenian Caucus.
- Pursue long-term stability and support for Armenians in Nagorno-Karabakh (Artsakh) by compelling Azerbaijan to immediately lift the blockade and prioritizing emergency humanitarian assistance through the United Nations Security Council, World Health Organization, and USAID. Further, a diplomatic solution should prioritize three simple principles: upholding the rights and securities of the Armenian citizens in Nagorno-Karabakh to self-govern, developing an internationally mediated peace process including leaders from the United States and the EU, and building an internationally implemented peace agreement to guarantee the rights and security of all Nagorno-Karabakh’s citizens.
- Hold accountable those responsible for the perpetration of human rights abuses by halting U.S. arms and aid to Azerbaijan and Turkey, and imposing sanctions on responsible parties for violating international human rights, torture of POWs, and destruction of cultural heritage. The United States must also work to leverage accountability actions through NATO and the EU.
For the past 20 years, Ratevosian has worked tirelessly to better the lives of Armenians, both in Armenia and in the U.S. Since 2003, he has led public health initiatives and mobilized significant resources to support Armenia’s response to HIV and viral hepatitis. Between 2018 and 2022, Jirair organized landmark public health agreements between Gilead Sciences and the Ministry of Health in the Republic of Armenia for the provision of lifesaving hepatitis medications and COVID-19 treatments, for which he was awarded special government recognition in August of 2023. Jirair has also worked to foster partnerships between civil society organizations in the U.S. and Armenia for the advancement of women’s economic empowerment and human rights.
As a member of the Biden-Harris Administration National Security Transition Policy Team, Ratevosian played a role in securing Armenian Genocide Recognition during President Biden’s first year in office.
ABOUT JIRAIR FOR CONGRESS
Born and raised in Hollywood, Dr. Jirair Ratevosian is a first-generation American born to Armenian immigrant parents. With a doctoral degree in public health from Johns Hopkins University, Ratevosian has spent his career working on behalf of underserved communities championing issues that most impact these communities. As part of President Biden’s policy team recognizing the Armenian Genocide, as a legislative director to Congresswoman Barbara Lee, and as a corporate social responsibility director at Gilead, Ratevosian has used his positions for the betterment of communities in need. He currently resides in Burbank with his fiance, Micheal Ighodaro.
Ratevosian is running for Rep. Adam Schiff’s seat to be a champion for all communities within California’s District 30. California’s 30th is an open Congressional District in Los Angeles County that includes the cities of Pasadena, Glendale, Burbank, West Hollywood, Sunland, Tujunga, and Hancock Park. Incumbent Adam Schiff is vacating the seat to run for the U.S. Senate. The district has the largest citizen voting-age population of Armenian-Americans in the country at 14%.
More information on Jirair’s campaign goals, which include issues of equal opportunity and public health, can be found on his campaign website.