Krikorian pledges 'to be the voice of American Armenians'

Glendale school board member Greg Krikorian, who is challenging Mike Gatto for the 43rd Assembly District seat in November, ramped up his campaign at a recent anti-genocide rally by appealing to the Armenian American vote with a fiery speech that has since been posted online.

In his address to the crowd, Krikorian spoke in terms that appeared to limit his appeal to Armenian voters — a strategy used many times by candidates before him with limited success — by saying it was time to elect someone who “speaks for us” and that “one of our own represents our community.”

In his speech outside Glendale Community College, which was posted on YouTube, Krikorian also pledges “to be the voice of American Armenians and to be the voice of Glendale — to be in touch with you.”

Krikorian said he tailored his comments — which at times became excited and touched on the international geo-political trials of Armenia — for his audience at the candlelight vigil commemorating the Armenian genocide of 1915.

The 43rd Assembly District includes Glendale, Burbank, Los Feliz and Silver Lake. With redistricting, the district now also includes La Cañada Flintridge, Montrose and parts of La Crescenta.

Comments on the YouTube clip included a comparison between Krikorian and former Vermont Gov. Howard Dean, who as a presidential candidate saw his appeal sapped by an over-the-top outburst at a campaign rally, and speeches by Louis Farrakhan, the controversial leader of the Nation of Islam.

Krikorian acknowledged that people may twist his words or take them out of context.

“People will throw and try to spin things to wherever they want to sway,” he said.

But as the November election approaches, Krikorian said he wants to focus on the challenges he’d tackle if elected, including job creation, education funding and an anemic state budget.

The YouTube posting cuts off before the speech ends. Krikorian said he ended his remarks by saying: “As we approach the 236th birthday of the United States, it’s important that we move forward.”

Krikorian said he’s spoken in the past at other events, such as those commemorating Cesar Chavez Day at Pacific Park and Martin Luther King Jr. in Detroit when he lived in Michigan.

“America is made up of many different ethnicities that are proud of their heritage,” Krikorian said in a phone interview on Thursday. “But we immigrated here to lead a better life and help America grow.”

Early in his speech at the vigil, Krikorian spoke of the hollow promises some politicians make during campaigns.

“We get political rhetoric all the time during the time of elections,” he said.

During the phone interview, he pointed to President Obama, who has yet to make good on a promise he made during his 2008 campaign to formally recognize the Armenian genocide.

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