Senator Portantino to Chair Select Committee on California, Armenia and Artsakh Mutual Trade, Art and Cultural Exchange

Thursday, March 2 2017

Sacramento, CA – At the request of State Senator Anthony J. Portantino, the California State Senate Rules Committee approved a historic Senate Select Committee on California, Armenia and Artsakh Mutual Trade, Art and Cultural Exchange. The aim of the Committee is to expand business opportunities through trade, economic development, cultural awareness and education between California, Armenia and Artsakh.  Portantino will Chair the committee.

The legislature has a history of encouraging trade between California and Armenia, and in fact, a California Armenia Trade Office was created and funded through legislation, which functioned as a key point of contact for improving California and Armenian business development until it was closed during the great recession budget crisis.

By approving this Select Committee, the California State Senate expressed its commitment to facilitating and expanding relations with the two Armenian Republics.

“I am very proud to bring this important committee and mission to fruition,” commented Portantino.  “There is a lot for all three countries to offer each other and I am confident that Armenia and Artsakh will be terrific partners for the best of California’s industry, art and culture.  I look forward to working through the Select Committee to explore new ways of strengthening cultural and economic ties between California, Armenia and Artsakh,” added Portantino.

Select Committee Chairman Portantino concluded that since the Senate did not have a standing committee tasked with expanding trade and economic development beyond California’s borders, there was a need to initiate an effort to fill this void.  California has the largest population of Armenian Americans in the country with a significant number of prominent Armenian American business owners residing here.  This committee creates a tremendous opportunity to augment national efforts to expand trade and commerce between the US and Armenia and Artsakh.  The Select Committee will convene meetings with Armenian American business owners and California industry leaders to develop and expand opportunities of mutual economic benefit. 

Glendale City Councilman Zareh Sinanyan also expressed his excitement and support for the new committee. 

“This is a unique opportunity for California and Armenian businesses to share innovation and common interests.  I’m particularly excited by the positive implications for Artsakh.  Once again, Senator Portantino is a leader in recognizing the importance of growing our economic prosperity, the significance of Armenian businesses and the accomplishments of the Armenian American community in his district.  I am very happy to support this effort and I look forward to helping it be successful,” concluded Sinanyan.

This past June, Portantino spent 10 days traveling in Armenia and Artsakh with Councilmember Sinanyan.  They visited and met with businesses leaders, innovation centers and media and government leaders.   In addition to Chairman Portantino, the Senators on the select committee are Senate Pro Tem Kevin de León, Tony Mendoza, Josh Newman and Scott Wilk.

Contact: Anahit Saragsyan, (916) 768-0725


Sen. Portantino represents nearly 930,000 people in the 25th Senate District, which includes Altadena, Atwater Village, Bradbury, Burbank, Claremont, Duarte, Glendale, Glendora, La Cañada Flintridge, La Crescenta,  La Verne,  Monrovia, Montrose,  Pasadena,  San Dimas, San Marino, Shadow Hills, Sierra Madre, South Pasadena,  Sunland-Tujunga, and Upland.