lobbies care about, read on. Please note that Lantos is "Hungry." He is
also a complete disaster on any issue relating to Israel, but of course
the Greek Lobby works as closely as possible with the Israel Lobby,
thinking that the latter will help them where they need help, neglecting
the close relationship that Israel has with Turkey. God help us.
Analysis of Congressional elections
*HOW ELECTIONS WILL LIKELY AFFECT*
*HELLENIC AND ORTHODOX ISSUES*
*IN THE U.S. CONGRESS*
WASHINGTON, D.C., Nov. 20—Today the Coordinated Effort of Hellenes (CEH)
released the following analysis of how the recent Congressional
elections will likely affect the handling of Hellenic and Orthodox
issues in the U.S. Congress.
*Greek-Americans in the U.S. Congress*
The number of Greek-Americans in the U.S. House of Representatives
doubled, from 2 to 4, and in the U.S. Senate went down from 2 down to 1.
Congresswoman *Shelley Berkley* (D-NV), whose family is from the Jewish
community of Thessaloniki, Greece, was re-elected [65% to 31%] and will
continue to serve on the crucial House International Relations
Committee’s Europe Subcommittee and be a strong link with the Jewish
lobby. While Congressman *Michael Bilirakis* (R-FL) is retiring this
year, three new Greek-Americans were elected by substantial margins to
the House: *Gus Bilirakis* (R-FL), Mike’s son, [56% to 44%], *John
Sarbanes* (D-MD), Senator Paul Sarbanes’ son, [65% to 33%] and *Zack
Space* (D-OH) [62% to 38%]. In the U.S. Senate, the number of Hellenes
was cut in half – Senator *Olympia Snowe* (R-ME) was re-elected [73% -
21%] and Senator *Paul Sarbanes* (D-MD) is retiring.
Greek-Americans account for between one-third and one-half of one
percent of the U.S. population. However, our representation in the U.S.
Congress is one percent in the Senate and approximately one percent in
The loss of Senator Sarbanes will be profound for our issues. While we
will lose his influence as a senior member on the Senate Foreign
Relations Committee and on the European Affairs Subcommittee, we will
also lose his invaluable work behind-the-scenes, with both Democrats and
Republicans in the Senate, as well as with both Democratic and
Republican Administrations. No one Hellene has done more to improve the
treatment of Hellenic and Orthodox issues in the U.S. than Senator
Sarbanes. In addition, in the House Congressman Bilirakis will also be
missed. We will lose his daily monitoring of activity in the U.S.
Congress on our issues, his coordination of special orders on the House
floor for our issues, and the sharing of information on our issues with
his colleagues that he and his staff undertook.
*Other Greek-American Candidates*
Of the three Greek-Americans who ran for Governor, in three of the most
influential states in the country, one was elected – Cypriot-American
*Charlie Crist* (R-FL) will be the next governor of Florida [having won
52% to 45%]. Sadly, *Phil Angelides* (D-CA) was defeated in California
[39% to 56%] and *Dina Titus* (D-NV) was defeated in Nevada [44% to
48%]. In other races *Alexis Giannoulias* was elected Illinois State
Treasurer [53% to 42%] and *Drew Theodore* lost in the race for South
Carolina Comptroller General [46% to 54%].
*Democratic Majority in the U.S. House of Representatives *
The most profound effect of these elections will be made by the
Democratic Members and Senators who will become the new leaders of the
House and Senate, controlling the passage of legislation, and the new
Chairmen of the key Committees and Subcommittees that formulate U.S.
policy on these issues. If one goes position-by-position, there is a
tremendous improvement in the leadership of the House and Senate, but a
mixed picture with the Committees and Subcommittees that control policy.
In general, Democratic Members and Senators have been more supportive of
Hellenic and Orthodox issues. A glance at 30 years of Congressional
votes and cosponsorship will show that in general 70% of Democrats and
about 30% of Republicans traditionally support our issues. This is
primarily due to the fact that in a choice between “human rights” (like
virtually all of our issues) and “strategic interests” (like Turkey’s
perception) most Democrats tend to choose the former and most
Republicans the latter. For example, all Democratic Senators but one
signed a letter to President *George W. Bush* (that we are coordinating
for the Archons) advocating the “religious rights” of the Ecumenical
Patriarch, while 26 Republican Senators have refused to sign.
In the House of Representatives, the new Speaker of the House,
Congresswoman *Nancy Pelosi* (D-CA), has been a very strong supporter,
particularly when she served as the Ranking Democrat on the crucial
House Foreign Operations Appropriations Subcommittee. She played a major
role in securing funding for Greece and Cyprus, as well as cutting aid
to Turkey in response to Turkey’s treatment of Greece and Cyprus. She
also recently played a major role in the September 26 record-setting
Congressional working dinner for Greece’s Foreign Minister *Dora
As well, the new Chair of the House Foreign Operations Appropriations
Subcommittee, Congresswoman *Nita Lowey* (D-NY), has been one of our
community’s top supporters in the U.S. Congress and has for many years,
as the top Democrat on this subcommittee, been the leader for all
efforts to support Greece and Cyprus. The new powerful Chairman of the
full House Appropriations Committee will be Congressman *David Obey*
(D-WI). He will replace the member who will become the new Ranking
Republican of this Committee, Congressman *Jerry Lewis* (R-CA).
Congressman Obey was the former Chair of the Foreign Operations
Subcommittee and we worked closely with him over a number of years to
ratchet-down U.S. aid to Turkey from $850 million a year to zero.
Congressman *Tom Lantos* (D-CA) will likely become the new Chair of the
House International Relations Committee. He has known Hellenes so long
that he tells the story of how he changed the diapers of former Greek
Foreign Minister *George Papandreou*. Tom Lantos and *Andreas
Papandreou* knew each other that well when they both taught at the
University of California at Berkley. At various times, Lantos has been
very helpful in making sure that Cyprus or Greece got a fair shake. He
was particularly fond of former Cyprus President *George Vassiliou* who
Lantos said spoke better Hungarian than he did. Lantos, a Holocaust
survivor, is from the Jewish community in Hungry.
The new chair of the House Europe and Emerging Threats Subcommittee will
likely be Congressman *Robert Wexler* (D-FL), the founder and co-chair
of the Turkish Congressional Caucus and the most pro-Turkish advocate of
all 435 Members of Congress. However, re-organization of these
subcommittees is being discussed and this could change.
In addition, there will be some new top Republicans on these key
Committees and Subcommittees. Most notably, the likely new Ranking
Republican on the House International Relations Committee will be
Congresswoman *Ileana Ros-Lehtinen *(R-FL), who has been one of the top
3 most supportive and influential Members of Congress for our issues.
Additionally, she can play a key role as the Administration’s party’s
top foreign policy person in the House.
*Democratic Majority in the U.S. Senate *
In the U.S. Senate, the new Majority Leader, Senator *Harry Reid* (D-NV)
has been a strong supporter. One of his state’s only three Members of
Congress is Hellene *Shelley Berkley*. As well, Hellene *Dina Titus*
leads Reid’s party in Nevada’s State Senate.
Senator *Joe Biden* (D-DE) will become the new Chair of the Senate
Foreign Relations Committee, replacing Senator *Richard Lugar* (R-IN),
who will become the Ranking Republican on this Committee. Senator Biden
is unmatched in the strength of advocacy for Hellenism and Orthodoxy. No
one of importance has ever told the Prime Minister of Turkey, as Senator
Biden did, that if they didn’t end their occupation of Cyprus, he
(Biden) would make Turkey’s relationship with the U.S. as difficult as
possible. In addition, Biden is one of the authors of the
above-mentioned letter to the President regarding the “religious
freedom” of the *Ecumenical Patriarchate*.
The current Chairman of the Europe Subcommittee, Senator *George Allen*
(R-VA), was defeated. This is a big loss for our community as he was,
after Senator Snowe, the most supportive Republican of our issues and
did so from the very influential position of chairman of this key
subcommittee. He may be replaced by Senator Biden, who currently also
serves as the top Democrat on that subcommittee. It is unclear who the
top Republican on this subcommittee will be. It could possibly be
Senator *George Voinovich* (R-OH), who is a supporter of our issues.
Senator *Bob Menendez* (D-NJ) was re-elected to the U.S. Senate in a
close race and will be a member of the crucial Senate Foreign Relations
Committee. He stands out, as Senator Sarbanes stood out, as one who
spontaneously stays informed in detail about Hellenic and Orthodox
issues. As well, he spontaneously intervenes in governmental actions
that are crucial to these issues. His intelligence and articulateness
enables him to inform and help direct our Executive Branch officials
handling these issues, somewhat as Sarbanes did. In addition, long-time
supporter and member of the House International Relations Committee,
Congressman *Sherrod Brown* (D-OH), was elected to the U.S. Senate.
Several other new senators are also expected to be strong advocates for
our issues, such as Senator-elect *Ben Cardin* (D-MD) and Senator-elect
*Sheldon Whitehouse* (D-RI).
*/Andrew A. Athens/*/, Chairman, National Coordinated Effort of Hellenes
(CEH); National Chairman, United Hellenic American Congress (UHAC);
World President, World Council of Hellenes Abroad (SAE)/
*/Philip Christopher/*/, Vice Chair, National Coordinated Effort of
Hellenes (CEH); President, International Coordinating Committee--Justice
for Cyprus (PSEKA); President, Pancyprian Association of America/
*/Andrew E. Manatos/*/, President, National Coordinated Effort of
Hellenes (CEH); Executive Board Member, UHAC and PSEKA/
*/Panicos Papanicolaou/*/, Supreme President, Cyprus Federation of America/
*/Nikos Mouyiaris/*/, Executive Vice President, Pancyprian Association