The last week of February AHC Board Member Kathy Tavoularis and AHC President Mike Galanakis had a barrage of meetings with elected officials in Washington D.C. in an effort to promote our issues to elected represenatives across the full spectrum of the political establishment.
“The meetings were very productive and we were commended on our presentations” stated Kathy Tavoularis after the conclusion of the Washington visit.
Tavoularis and Galanakis met with 15 elected officials from both parties. The goal of the visit was to discuss and promote our positions on the Cyprus issue and the Ecumenical Patriarchate and to ask elected officials who are not part of the Hellenic Caucus to join in.
From the Congressmen we met with, Rep. Darell Issa (R-CA49), Parker Griffith (R-AL05), Michele Bachmann (R-MN06), Kevin McCarthy R-CA22) and Wally Herger (R-CA06) agreed to join the Hellenic Caucus of the House. In addition, Senator Thune was interested in possibly joining as an ex-officio member or possibly starting a Senatorial Causus.
The meetings with members of the House and Senate took place on the heels of statement from the US Ambassador to Turkey that “Turkey…doesn’t invade neighbors. It has security concerns in Cyprus…”, a statement that is completely untrue historically and what we believe contrary to official US policy in the area.
During the meetings, the issue was brought up and we asked from our elected representatives to co-sign a letter addressed to Secretary Clinton calling for her attention to this matter. The letter was prepared by the Coordinated Effort of Hellenes and a copy of it can be found here. We urge everyone to write or call their elected officials asking them to support it.
On the issue of the religious freedoms of the Ecumenical Patriarchate, we asked Members of the House to co-sign House Resolution 236 calling for Turkey to respect the religous rights of their minorities. We also asked Senator Thune to co-sponsor Senate Resolution 356 calling for the immediate re-opening of the Thelogical School of Halki.
During the visits both Congressmen Ed Royce and Greek-American Congressman Gus Bilirakis and their staff were instrumental in helping us promote our agenda.
Rep. Royce and Bilirakis have been longtime supporters of our issues and have been vocal propoenents with the introduction of several Resolutions in the House that seek to advance our agenda of a peaceful, yet fair resolution of the occupation of Cyprus and religous freedom for the Ecumenical Patriarchate.
Overall, it was a very productive week for the American Hellenic Council. “Most importantly, we had the chance to meet with elected officials we had never met before and got an opportunity to educate them on the virtues of our positions.” stated Alexander Mizan, Executive Director of the American Hellenic Council.
(For more information please contact: American Hellenic Council Director: Alexander Mizan ph. 323-651-3507)