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Taking care of home first: Johnson details record

2/28/2014, 6 a.m.
U.S. Rep. Hank Johnson addresses the crowd on Feb. 22 in Lithonia as he launches his re-election bid for a fifth term of office in the 4th Congressional District. Photo by Jennifer Ffrench-Parker

Editor’s note: Fourth District Rep. Hank Johnson (D-Ga.) launched his re-election campaign for a fifth term on Feb. 22. He faces opposition from DeKalb Sheriff Thomas Brown in the May 20 Democratic primary. Below are excerpts from his speech to supporters who attended the grand opening of his Lithonia campaign headquarters.

I want to thank the citizens of District 4 for the opportunity to serve. It has truly been an honor representing our community in Congress these last seven years, and I hope that I am afforded the opportunity to continue my service to you.

Let me tell you why I want your continued support and in turn your vote. I recognize that the issues of jobs and the economy are at the forefront of the minds of the citizens of our district. And in response, I have delivered.

Since 2009, I have helped deliver more than $250 million in federal funds to District 4 for jobs creation. This amount includes $98 million, which saved more than 1,000 teaching jobs in DeKalb, Rockdale, Gwinnett and Newton counties.

Remaining true to my word of Taking Care of Home First, my office has helped more than 15,000 constituents secure more than $32 million for constituents seeking help with specific federal agencies.

In 2013, I co-sponsored the Help Entrepreneurs Create American Jobs Act, which increases the tax deduction for many start-up companies. I have sponsored the Summer Jobs Act, which created more than 1,000 jobs for youth in our districts.

At the end of 2013, nearly 1.3 million Americans, including 55,000 Georgians, lost unemployment insurance due to GOP obstruction. This is unconscionable!

I vow to continue the fight for an extension of long-term unemployment benefits that would enable the long-term unemployed to make ends meet as they search for employment.

And while they are searching for jobs, I want to make sure they are not discriminated against due to their unemployment status.

That’s why from my leadership position on the Judiciary Committee, I felt so compelled to sponsor the Fair Employment Act. This act prohibits employers and employment agencies from discriminating against unemployed job seekers.

My goal is to make sure that no one is discriminated against because he or she has been among the long-term unemployed. Everyone should have the same opportunities for employment.

Two years ago, Georgia received $340 million from President Obama’s Hardest Hit Fund to help homeowners avoid foreclosure.

My office felt that enough was not being done to distribute those funds, so we got the governor to ramp up Georgia. We hosted a half-dozen Home Safe Georgia foreclosure events that allow homeowners access to those funds.

As a result of my office’s aggressive efforts to bring awareness to this program, and to make it work for 4th District homeowners, more Hardest Hit Fund monies were distributed in the 4th District than in any other district in the state, helping prevent thousands of foreclosures and ending that crisis!

And we will continue to create those opportunities.

Today, I am in the thick of my fifth congressional campaign.