Nancy Najarian Eyes Virginia House Seat


By Alin K. Gregorian

Mirror-Spectator Staff

MCLEAN, Va.  — Community activist Nancy Najarian, a woman with deep ties to Massachusetts and its Armenian community, has set her sights on the US House seat which will soon be vacant when its current occupant, veteran US Rep. Jim Moran Jr.  (D-Va), retires in the fall.

Najarian is the daughter and stepdaughter, respectively, of K. George and Dr. Carolann Najarian, formerly of Massachusetts and currently of Washington, DC, and resides in northern Virginia with her family.

During an interview this week, Najarian said that she has been a longtime campaigner for and supporter of Democratic candidates, both locally and nationally.

With Moran’s decision not to see another term, Najarian said, it seemed like the time was right to take a chance.

“As I am getting older, I am thinking of ways that I could make an impact in significant ways,” she said, by way of explaining why she would seek the House seat.

“This is a very, very safe Democratic seat. There is a good chance that there won’t be another chance like this,” she explained.

“I did some due diligence and talked” to various members of congress and friends in politics as well as her friends and family to make up her mind. “I decided to go for it,” she said.

She is kicking off her campaign this week, meeting with locals and making phone calls in this very short and intense campaign. The primary will take place on June 10, with the election in November.

“I need to become a very well supported candidate in an extremely short amount of time because it is a crowded race,” she said. The first goal, she said, is to raise a lot of cash for the campaign to pay for ads “in the very expensive DC media market.”

Najarian is a veteran when it comes for working for Democratic candidates nationally. “I have worked on canvassing, phone banking, etc. for the presidential elections in the last 12 years,” she said. In addition, she has helped in other races, including Massachusetts’ Sen. Elizabeth Warren (D-Ma) and Middlesex County Sheriff Peter Koutoujian’s bid to become a member of the House last year.

Nancy Najarian was born in Boston, baptized in St. Stephen’s Armenian Church in Watertown and raised in Belmont.

Being a part of the Armenian community comes naturally to Najarian. “I come from a family that has done quite a bit of work in the Armenian-American community and Armenia itself,” she said. “I am sharing my candidacy with the Armenian-American community.”

She was a charter member of the Cambridge Yerevan Sister City Association (CYSCA) in the 1980s and traveled with her family and the group to Moscow and Yerevan in 1988 prior to the break up of the Soviet Union and the independence of Armenia. After receiving her master’s degree from Georgetown University’s School of Foreign Service, she volunteered at the new Armenian Embassy in Washington before heading to Armenia in 1993 to live there.

In Yerevan, Najarian taught English to students who wanted to attend MBA programs. She also founded a non-profit there, Technical Assistance for the Republic of Armenia (TARA, Inc.), which aimed to help nascent Armenian entrepreneurs start new businesses in Armenia and bring diasporan Armenians to teach Western approaches to management and finance.

She was also a board member of the Armenian Assembly of America’s ARAMAC (Armenian American Action Committee), working to raise awareness in the US about newly-independent Armenia’s plight as a result of the energy blockade.

There are several issues that are close to her heart. “I have both advocated for, and helped educate others about, renewable energy and its significance in relation to insuring a healthy, and livable world now and in the future,” she said. “I care very much about leaving a world for our children where not only do they have a voice in their government and the ability to support themselves and their families, but also where they can live and have the natural resources that allow for a long and healthy existence. That translates into awareness of how our climate is changing, and what each of us as individuals and collectively as countries can do to mitigate the negative climate changes we are experiencing presently.”

There are many areas around the world engulfed in conflict on in a post-conflict state, which need the help of the US, she said. “I will strive to support and … give people a chance to get back on their feet,” she said. “People should have a right to a voice.”

Other issues she wants to focus on if elected to the House include women’s rights and reproductive rights.

She added, “Human trafficking is becoming more and more of an issue. It’s horrible.”

In addition, she said she is “very, very interested in issues that affect Armenia as well as Armenian-Americans.”

In addition, she said she would try to increase US trade with Armenia.

The current plight of Syrian-Armenians, she noted, needs to be addressed and their suffering alleviated.

Najarian said that as a small business owner, she knows how to handle money, meet a payroll, handle insurance needs and balance her family and work life. Her manufacturing firm, Clip-It Systems, sells a patented means of securing grape vines in vineyards of optimal growth.

Najarian lives in northern Virginia with her husband, Michael Stimson, and children George, 13, and Serine, 7. She has been a Sunday school teacher at St. Mary’s Armenian Apostolic Church in Washington and has participated in many events hosted both by the Armenian Assembly of America and the Armenian National Committee of America.

She noted, “It would be pretty exciting to have someone with an Armenian last name in Congress in 2015.”

For more information on Najarian, visit http://www.najarianforcongress.com/