Source: The National Herald
By Eleni Sakellis
NEW YORK – With the primary election coming up on June 26, a fundraiser for Congresswoman Carolyn Maloney was held on June 18 at the Russian Tea Room in Midtown Manhattan. Rep. Maloney is running for re-election in the 12th Congressional District where the world’s largest Greek diaspora community resides. Congressional District 12 includes Astoria, Long Island City, Williamsburg, Greenpoint, and the majority of Manhattan’s East Side.
Maloney spoke with The National Herald, thanking the community for its support and noting the importance of voter turnout in the primary just one week away. Among those present at the event were Lou Katsos, host of the fundraiser, EMBCA founder and president, and newly elected President of AHEPA Delphi Chapter #25 and District 6 Lieutenant Governor, Demi Pamboukes- newly elected District 6 Governor, businessman and former New York City mayoral candidate John Catsimatidis, and Loula Loi Alafoyiannis- Founder and President of the Euro-American Women’s Council. Renowned classical crossover singer Anastasia Zannis sang the National Anthems of the U.S. and Greece at the event.
Katsos gave the welcoming remarks noting that “whatever Hellenic American activity takes place, whenever there was a request for her presence, Carolyn Maloney was there for us, and in my opinion, whoever is there for us, we have to be there for them.” He thanked all those in attendance for their support and especially Marina Belessis Casoria for her efforts.
“We are proud to support Congresswoman Carolyn Maloney in her reelection campaign, our support crosses all party lines, we are united in our support for Carolyn and for the Hellenic Republic and Cyprus, get out the vote on June 26 for Carolyn Maloney,” Katsos said, adding that “she is a tireless fighter for our community.”
Maloney is the Founder of the Hellenic Congressional Caucus, which brings a focus on diplomatic, military, and economic issues in Greece, Cyprus, and the Eastern Mediterranean. A champion of strong U.S. relations with Greece and Cyprus, Maloney is outspoken on the issues concerning the Hellenic community, including Turkey’s violations of international law and its illegal incursions into Greek airspace. She also actively supports a just and lasting settlement of the illegal Turkish occupation of the Republic of Cyprus.
Maloney thanked all those present for their support, noting her appreciation and that some came from as far as Philadelphia and California to attend the event. She also appreciates the bipartisan support. “The best legislation, I’ve always said, is bipartisan,” she observed. Maloney fought hard to bring $10 billion in federal funds into her district for infrastructure and development, and noted the completion of the first phase of the 2nd Avenue subway, the new Kosciusko Bridge, and the East side connector with a stop in Sunnyside, which will help the economic development of Queens, among other bills she has worked on.
When she first went to Congress, Maloney said the Turkish lobby was very powerful and there were votes practically every other day on the floor of Congress that benefitted Turkey and it was after the invasion of Imia, that she said this is getting out of hand. Many times she would meet with members of the Greek Parliament who were in Washington over the latest outrage. Since the founding of the Hellenic Caucus, Maloney noted that “not a single anti-Greek bill has passed, they don’t even bother to go to the floor because they know we have 180 members in the Caucus who will be voting against them.”
Maloney introduced a Congressional resolution to protect Greek Macedonian heritage in a mutually acceptable national name for the former Yugoslav Republic. She said “Macedonia is Greek” and does not approve of the name North Macedonia and does not agree with the deal.
The return of the Parthenon marbles is another issue Maloney spoke about, noting the bill she introduced on the issue, and urged everyone to encourage their representatives to vote for it and “bring the marbles back to Greece.”
On the economy of Greece, she noted the Hellenic Caucus’ efforts to support Greece “in pushing the IMF and Germany to renegotiate the terms of the settlement to be more gracious or forgiving in the restructuring and rebuilding of the economy.”
“It’s such an incredible country with incredible people, the birthplace of democracy, we in this nation owe so much to Greece,” Maloney said.
“Going forward, with your help I hope I can continue working for individuals, our city and state, and national legislation that protects immigrants. We went to a detention center in New Jersey yesterday, with a number of members of Congress, and met with fathers who all came to the country legally with their children and told stories of their children literally removed from them and they don’t even know where they are, so we are working to reconnect them so they can at least talk to them on the phone. We are working very hard to reunite them and put the families back together.”
“Carolyn Maloney is a friend who represents this community in the best way possible, represents all the people,” John Catsimatidis said, adding that he and his family members are voting for her, regardless of party affiliations.
“I am voting for Carolyn Maloney… More important than being a Republican or a Democrat is having commonsense and Carolyn Maloney has a lot of commonsense,” Catsimatidis said.