Capitol Alert

AM Alert: California lawmakers launch Armenian caucus

Assemblymen Katcho Achadjian, R-San Luis Obipso, and Adrin Nazarian, D-Burbank, are among the members of a new Armenian legislative caucus.
Assemblymen Katcho Achadjian, R-San Luis Obipso, and Adrin Nazarian, D-Burbank, are among the members of a new Armenian legislative caucus. The Sacramento Bee file

Latino, Asian, black, gay, Jewish and women legislators all have specialty caucuses, and now you can add Armenians to the list.

The California Armenian Legislative Caucus launches tonight with a fundraiser at Mayahuel featuring Armenian brandy tasting and dozens of lawmakers. Tickets range from $500 to $5,000.

The caucus is “a platform for Armenian-American voices at the statewide level,” said Natalie Bruton-Yenovkian, a founder and board member. Its focus this year will be on seeking recognition at the Capitol for the 100th anniversary of the Armenian genocide.

Armenian Assemblymen Katcho Achadjian, R-San Luis Obispo, and Adrin Nazarian, D-Sherman Oaks, are both members, as is Assemblyman Scott Wilk, R-Santa Clarita, whose wife is Armenian.

“We’ve made him an honorary Armenian,” Bruton-Yenovkian siad. “We call him Armenian by choice.”

The caucus is one of the few open to both Democrats and Republicans, and it will also accept non-Armenian legislators who want to learn about the community’s issues. Bruton-Yenovkian said Assembly members Ian Calderon, D-Whittier, and Cheryl Brown, D-San Bernardino, have already expressed interest.

BACK TO THE FUTURE: Want to see Assembly Republican Leader Kristin Olsen ride an electric skateboard? The Riverbank lawmaker is reviving her bill to allow the motorized boards in bike lanes and on sidewalks, 2 p.m. on the west steps of the Capitol. This year, the legislation has a number of co-sponsors who plan to attend – including Assembly members Catharine Baker, R-Dublin; Calderon; Cristina Garcia, D-Bell Gardens; Eric Linder, R-Corona; Melissa Melendez, R-Lake Elsinore; Mark Stone, D-Scotts Valley; and Marie Waldron, R-Escondido – so you might even catch a whole squad of lawmakers on wheels.

DAYS OF WINE AND ROSES: Assemblyman Bill Dodd, D-Napa, and Sen. Lois Wolk, D-Davis, who both chair select committees on the California wine industry, host a special reception in honor of “California Wines: Down to Earth Month,” highlighting sustainably grown and produced wines, 4:30 p.m. in Room 317 of the Capitol.

Call The Bee’s Alexei Koseff, (916) 321-5236. Follow him on Twitter @akoseff.

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