Tom Malinowski, a retired U.S. diplomat seeking to unseat a sitting U.S. Representative in central New Jersey’s 7th Congressional District, has, in a statement shared with the Armenian National Committee of New Jersey (ANC of N.J.), backed U.S. recognition of the Armenian Genocide and called out his opponent, incumbent Leonard Lance, for taking an all-expense paid junket to Azerbaijan in 2013, the Armenian Weekly reports.
“Acknowledging historical truth is essential to preventing genocide and promoting justice and reconciliation after it happens,” reads a part of Malinowski’s statement. “For this reason, I have long believed that the United States should recognize the Armenian Genocide, while continuing to encourage dialogue between Turkey, Armenia and the Armenian community to reach a common understanding of the past and cooperation on the present challenges they face,” the statement continues. (The full text of Malinowski’s statement to the ANC of N.J. can be read below)
The Garden State’s seventh Congressional District is home to a sizable Armenian-American community, stretching across the width of the state and including parts of Essex, Hunterdon, Morris, Somerset, Union, and Warren counties. The seat is held by incumbent Leonard Lance (R-N.J.), who has not cosponsored the Armenian Genocide Truth and Justice Resolution and, in 2013, made headlines as part of a controversial Congressional trip to Azerbaijan that sparked a high profile Congressional ethics inquiry into possible illegal foreign funding of official U.S. travel.
Tom Malinowski served as Assistant Secretary of State for Democracy, Human Rights, and Labor under the Obama Administration starting in April, 2014. During his time in this position, he spearheaded efforts to assist persecuted religious minorities targeted by ISIS in Iraq and worked on decreasing civilian casualties from US military operations in the Middle East. Prior to his tenure at the State Department, from 2001 to 2013, he served as the Washington Director for Human Rights Watch. Born in Poland, he emigrated with his mother to the United States at the age of 6, settling in New Jersey. He received a Bachelor of Arts in political science from the University of California, Berkeley in 1987 and a master of philosophy from Oxford University in 1991.