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Johnson: We should be raising fathers

WASHINGTON, D.C. — With Father’s Day 2013 approaching, U.S. Rep. Bill Johnson has introduced a new initiative called Raising Fathers. He’s asking Americans to honor their own father, or fathers they know, by posting a short video tribute on YouTube.

“Raising Fathers” is designed to be a community effort that will shed light on the national epidemic involving the shortage of strong father figures for children. Through a website at www.RaisingFathers.org, Johnson will share news and seek input on this issue as America seeks solutions.

Johnson, a Congressman representing eastern and southeastern Ohio, says that it was his own experience as a son, a father, and grandfather that led to this effort.

“My father was infrequently home and frequently drunk,” Johnson said. “It’s too common a story that I’ve tried to reverse with my own children, and now it’s time to bring more public attention to the issue.”

The problem of absentee fathers transcends all socio-economic, racial, and religious demographics. Today, one out of three children is from a single parent home. Fifty years ago that number was one out of 10.

Johnson says this is a societal issue that also has an impact on public policy.

“This is a problem for governments at all levels, with the ripple effect resulting in more taxpayer-funded prison cells, treatment centers and probation officers just to name a few,” Johnson said. “I hope to use my influence to build a coalition of neighbors, churches, community leaders and all people of goodwill to do something about it.”

The first project of the effort involves video tributes for Father’s Day 2013. Johnson is asking Americans to post a short video on YouTube with the term “Raising Fathers” in the description and he will include the best of those videos on the project’s website. “You can talk about your own father, your husband’s role as a father, or just a father you know who deserves recognition,” Johnson continued. “It’s a great Father’s Day present to let the rest of the world know how much that father has meant to you.”

Johnson posted his own video on the website and has begun to post other videos submitted by supporters of the project.

The project involves no taxpayer funds or donated money and is currently only being funded as a personal project by Johnson.

“This is something that has been weighing on my heart for many years and it’s time for me to speak out. This won’t involve moving legislation or passing laws, but rather moving people and passing the word.”