The son of Senator Paul Sarbanes faces a tough primary against 6 opponents, in the 3rd Maryland congressional district
New York.- By Apostolis Zoupaniotis
John Sarbanes, , the son of the US Senator Paul Sarbanes is running for the 3rd Congressional seat in Maryland, and his decision has created waves of enthusiasm amongst the Greek Americans across the country.
“When in April Senator Paul Sarbanes announced his decision not to seek re-election, the question was where the leader for the Greek American Community will come from. Tonight we know the answer”, said New York State Assemblyman Michael Gianaris, speaking at a fundraising event for John Sarbanes, in Astoria, New York.
John Sarbanes, 43, is seeking the seat that was held by his father, almost 35 years ago. He is going to have a tough primary race for the democratic nomination, facing six opponents, one of them Turkish American, with big Wall Street connections.
“This is a big opportunity for the Greek American Community to strengthen our voice in Washington. A voice that now is weaker because we are losing our champion, Senator Paul Sarbanes. We need the support of every Greek American and we must present John to the Greek American Community across the country”, said Philip Christopher, President of the International Coordinating Committee “Justice for Cyprus”.
Speaking to an audience of prominent Greek Americans, John Sarbanes presented himself to the community, proving that he knows the Greek national issues, and that he is both politically mature and sensitive in the social issues.
“I have that much love for Greece as one has for his own country”, Sarbanes told the audience. In 1986 he visited Greece as a Fulbright scholar to study the political situation. Living in Greece for a year he had the opportunity to learn the language, meet his relatives and know the Greek people.
“My relation with Greece started with my Grandmother Matina, who gave to her children the love for Greece. At the same time my father gave us the interest for Cyprus and its problem”, Sarbanes said.
His thesis in Princeton was on 1967 Military Coup in Greece. He has also published an article at the Princeton newspaper on the 1983 UDI on the Turkish Cypriot pseudo state.
“31 years after the Turkish occupation we still have the issue unsolved. The situation could even be worse if it wasn’t for people like Philip Christopher and all of you”.
During his saying in New York, John Sarbanes met with Archbishop Demetrios and attended a fundraising event organized by John Catsimatidis.
On December 12, Greek-American Washingtonians and others came together for a fundraiser for John Sarbanes. Andy and Tina Manatos co-hosted this fundraiser with the following leaders: Mike Angelakis, Andrew A. Athens, Peter Baris, Herschel and Goldene Blumberg, Nicholas Bouras, John Brademas, John Courembis, Charis Lapas, Frank Manta, Dennis Mehiel, Jim Pedas, Ted Pedas, Richard Schifter, and Bill and Linda Stavropoulos.
Besides John Sarbanes, another Greek American from Florida, Gus Bilirakis, is running for the seat held by his father.
On November 16, prominent Greek-Americans in the Washington, D.C. metropolitan area attended a fundraiser for Gus Bilirakis, a member of the Florida House of Representatives.Dr. Mike Datch, a long-time friend of the Bilirakis family, and CEH Andy Manatos co-hosted this fundraiser.
“In both cases, the apple has not fallen far from the tree. Gus and John are similarly well educated, bright and interested in matters that are of great concern to us,” said Manatos.
“We were pleased to have raised $44,000 between these two events and urge community leaders across the country to host similar events for each of these candidates,” said Manatos.