NEW YORK – It is one of the most exciting primary seasons in years and Greek-Americans are in the thick of it. A number of them are top aides in the remaining candidates’ campaigns and others are busy mobilizing the Greek-American community.
Greek Americans for Hillary is a national committee of members of the community supporting Clinton. “They are leading efforts to mobilizing the Greek vote,” committee member Ted Anastasiou told TNH.
The chairpersons are Amb. Eleni Tsakopoulos, Michael Dukakis, and John Podesta, who is the Chairman of the 2016 Hillary Clinton presidential campaign.
NY State Senator Michael Gianaris is running as a delegate pledged to Clinton and he spotlighted the upcoming New York primary on April 19 – past races have been all but decided by the time New Yorkers vote – as crucial this year and the large Hellenic population all over the state puts the community at the front lines of opportunity.
Anastasiou agrees the community is in a position to make impact, and that Clinton should be the community’s choice.
“We believe she is the best candidate for the position considering…her knowledge of the issues and her long history of supporting Greek causes…and her experience as First Lady and as Secretary of State.”
Anastasiou noted her support for Greece during the bailout negotiations was critical and that she pushed the Cyprus reunification peace talks. Hillary supporters also note the key role Bill Clinton played in opening the way to Cyprus’ entrance to the EU.
The committee has hosted major fundraisers in New York and Washington and has held conference to mobilize the Greek vote in different primary states.
Gianaris recently participated in a fundraiser held in the Manhattan home of Dennis and Karen Mehiel that was attended by entrepreneurs and community leaders like Nikos Mouyiaris and George Tsunis.
HELPING BEYOND CHECK WRITING
Anastasiou said the best way to be directly involved is to help with canvassing New York City neighborhoods and phone banks, but he said “everyone can help by speaking to their friends and family… fellow church-goers, neighbors, and colleagues about the importance of having a true friend on Greek issues be the nominee of the Democratic party.”
Greek-Americans in New York have organized a phone bank at UFT headquarters where volunteers can just show up at 52 Broadway in Manhattan on April 16-19.
An energetic young democrat, Anastasiou grew up in Englewood Cliffs, NJ and attended church at St. John the Theologian in nearby Tenafly. His parents, Diane and Evangelos, have roots in Northern Epiros and Macedonia and his political and history interests were fanned in childhood by dinner table discussion – where has also fed him Ancient Greek history.
“They also taught me to have a sense of duty not only to yourself, but to the public,” he said.
He found the well-worm path to public service and made it his own. Anastasiou was Editor-in-Chief of his high school newspaper and then interned for Congressman Steve Rothman. After NYU and New York Law School, he served as deputy on the voter protection council in the 2012 Obama campaign in Pennsylvania, and then was appointed by Governor Andrew Cuomo as Assistant Counsel at the Dept. of Financial Services, the state’s banking and insurance regulator.
Mentors are important and on his first day of law school he heard future City Councilman Costa Constantinides speak about public service. Constantinides is also a big supporter of Clinton and met with her recently to discuss important issues facing New York, Greece, and Cyprus.
City Councilman Costa Conastantinides has endorsed Hillary Clinton.
“Looking at her experience, we need someone like her to navigate this new era in foreign policy, including major, priority issues for Greece and Cyprus,” Constantinides said.
Assemblywoman Aravella Simotas completes the trifecta of Hillary supporters in Astoria.
MIKE ON THE BALLOT
Gianaris is running as a delegate in the congressional district of Rep. Crowley that covers parts of Astoria and other Queens neighborhoods.
His name appears on the ballot too, next to Clinton’s. People who want to send him to the convention – it would be his first time – “have to look for Hillary and look for me” and select both.