Posted: Tuesday, July 03, 2001 at 04:36 PM CT
Congresswoman Anna Eshoo was born in December 1942 in New Britain, Connecticut, and graduated from Cañada College in 1975. Her public career began in 1980 when she became the first woman Chair of the San Mateo County Democratic Party. She also started twelve years of service on the Democratic National Committee that year.
Currently Anna Eshoo is a third term U.S. Representative from California's 14th Congressional District. As the only Member of Congress of Assyrian descent, she works vigorously to protect the rights of Assyrians living in the United States, Iraq, and around the world.
Her deep commitment to the Assyrian people is reflected in her record in Congress. Whether she's talking with President Clinton about the history and concerns of Assyrians or using her influence to help Assyrians overseas, Anna Eshoo is a proud advocate for her people.
In September 1996, when the Kurdish coalition fell apart in Northern Iraq and Iraqi troops moved into the region, Anna Eshoo asked President Clinton to obtain and secure aid for Assyrian communities in Northern Iraq. She also provided the President with a list of Assyrians who cooperated with U.S. relief agencies and required evacuation from the area to escape Iraqi forces. Both of her requests were met by the Clinton Administration.
In November 1995, Anna Eshoo personally wrote to members of the House Committee on National Security to raise their awareness of the Assyrian people and underscore the important role they play in the Middle East and other regions. She told them that Assyrians are a proud people, with a strong Christian faith, a distinct language, and a rich cultural heritage spanning over 7,000 years... Assyrians have endured centuries of persecution because of their ethnicity, faith and ownership of valuable land. A third of them - some 750,000 Assyrians -- perished in genocidal attacks by Ottoman Empire military forces after World War One. Since 1968, Saddam Hussein has maintained the onslaught on Assyrian communities in Iraq by destroying and depopulating 200 Assyrian villages, thereby forcing inhabitants to flee to foreign lands, mostly the United States and Canada.
Anna's letters were well received by her colleagues, including Committee Chairman Floyd Spence and Rep. Own Picket, who have jurisdiction over legislation important to maintaining U.S. support for Assyrians in the Middle East.
In late 1993, when the Assyrian-American community was worried about the Turkish army evacuating the Christian Assyrian village of Hassanah, Anna Eshoo sent a strong message to the Turkish Ambassador in Washington imploring his government to discontinue their actions immediately. She later followed up with the Ambassador about Turkey's treatment of dislocated Assyrian villagers.
Anna Eshoo consistently supports funding for the Agency for International Development, which includes the Office of Foreign Disaster Assistance. This office recently provided thousands of dollars to help resettle Assyrian villages in Northern Iraq.
She also strongly supports limited U.S. air strikes against Saddam Hussein and his military in order to uphold UN resolutions and enforce the 'no Fly' zone protecting Assyrians in Northern Iraq.
Finally, Anna Eshoo has an open door for Assyrian leaders who want to meet with her in Washington. And she has helped obtain visas from the U.S. State Department for Assyrians trapped in tragic situations overseas. Through her years of public services, Anna Eshoo has proven herself to be both a true daughter and a faithful friend of the Assyrian community.