Public service has always been my passion and my roots run deep in the district. I grew up, went to school and college here, and have worked both inside City Hall and in nonprofit organizations such as the Youth Policy Institute, the Mayor’s Office, the Department of Public Works, and the City Attorney’s Office addressing the needs of the diverse communities of our city.
Growing up in a working family, I witnessed my parents work tirelessly to provide for us and learned the value of hard work. My father, who was the owner of shoe stores, took me to work from a young age; and I grew up seeing him walk door-to-door with a bag of shoes, trying to make a sale. Rain or shine, he would not give up. Today, just like my father, I walk door-to-door, rain or shine, trying to make a difference for our community.
In addition to my current position as Administrative Coordinator / Outreach Specialist at the City Attorney Mike Feuer’s office, I have served and continue to serve on various committees and boards of local and regional organizations including the Center for Family and Health Education, the Armenian National Committee of America – San Fernando Valley North Chapter (ANCA-SFVN), and the Armenian General Benevolent Union Young Professionals Network LA (AGBU). Just recently, I was honored to be elected as Board of Governor and Secretary for the Engineers and Architects Association, an affiliate of the International Brotherhood of Electrical Workers, where I also serve as Unit Council Member, member of the Outreach Committee, and the Bylaws & Constitution Committee.
My commitment to public service goes back to my time as a student at Pierce College, when I first volunteered in the Mayor’s Office within the San Fernando Valley and later while attending California State University, Northridge. In continuing on that path, I later joined the Youth Policy Institute (YPI), where I worked to reduce poverty by making sure that families have access to high-quality schools, wraparound education, and technology services. As a Community Advocate, I coordinated projects and events with schools and communities, such as focus-group meetings with schools, businesses, and other stakeholders to identify priorities, bring awareness and serve the needs of low-income neighborhoods. I also worked with the Armenian community in Hollywood to incorporate the needs of the Armenian-American community into a grant proposal to obtain funding for English as Second Language programs for newly arrived Armenians. Thanks to this collaboration, today, Little Armenia is one of the five neighborhoods that will be receiving funding under the LA Neighborhood Promise Grant.
My skills and understanding of public service expanded while working in the Mayor’s office, under the Villaraigosa administration as Valley Area Representative, where I addressed key Neighborhood Council and City Council requests, and organized community events and stakeholder meetings. Working in the Mayor’s Office, I strengthened relationships with City Departments, Council Offices, and Commissions and gained in depth knowledge about each of these entities. In addition, I worked closely with businesses, County and State offices, non-profits, and community organizations, bridging these related but often disconnected entities.
As a Project Assistant within the Bureau of Sanitation, Department of Public Works I analyzed Federal and State Legislature Bills to determine how the Bureau of Sanitation would comply with current and future regulations. In this capacity, I was proud to take a leading role in conducting and organizing the public education and outreach for the city’s implementation plans for the Plastic Bag Ban under the Solid Resources Citywide Recycling Division as well as the Commercial Franchise Citywide Waste Hauler System.
In the City Attorney’s Office, as the Community Resource Specialist for the Neighborhood School Safety Program I created a task force of city departments that consisted of LAPD, DWP, Street Services, Sanitation, Office of Beautification, and LADOT and invited LA School Police as well as LAUSD Coordinators to address issues around schools. The collaboration of these different entities ensured that our schools were a safer and a more welcoming environment for our students. As your councilmember, I promise to continue this collaboration and visit one school per week to speak with school administrators, teachers, parents and other stakeholders to learn how schools can be improved.
After successfully working with schools, I got the opportunity to serve as Administrative Coordinator / Outreach Specialist within the Neighborhood Justice Program, where I developed crime-prevention programs throughout the city, and helped first-time offenders get back on the right track, and keep them out of the judicial system, by connecting them with resources that are offered within the community.
The common factors responsible for the success of each of the programs I’ve worked on are collaboration and determination. As your councilmember, I want to continue in that spirit of community building to bring different departments and stakeholders together to address the issues that impact us all, and I plan to do that in each area of our district. I believe that the knowledge and the expertise of all invested stakeholders, proper planning and allocation of resources, and the willingness to do what it takes to get the work done are the ingredients that will help improve our district.
My convictions and values have been shaped by my personal and professional experiences and I’ve always taken pride in serving as the bridge between residents, communities and City Hall. More than ever before, we need leaders who will roll up their sleeves, find solutions and bring integrity, accountability and real, tangible change to our district.
My wife Arus and I have a 1-year-old son who will grow up in this district so these issues are as important and personal to me, as they are to you and your families.
I hope to earn your trust and vote on June 4th.