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January 31, 2005
Contact: Dr. Susan Linn (617) 278-4282 susan<at>
For Immediate Release

Senator Harkin to Receive Fred Rogers Integrity Award from Children’s Coalition

The Campaign for a Commercial-Free Childhood (CCFC) has selected Senator Tom Harkin (D-Iowa) to receive the first annual Fred Rogers Integrity Award. The award, named in honor of the beloved host of Mr. Rogers’ Neighborhood, will be given each year by CCFC to the public figure whose efforts to protect children from harmful marketing best embody Mr. Rogers’ long-standing commitment to nurturing the health and well-being of America’s children. Dr. Susan Linn of the Judge Baker Children’s Center in Boston will present Senator Harkin with the award at a breakfast on February 2, 2005 in room 562 of the Dirksen Building on Capital Hill.

In the past year, Senator Harkin risked the ire of corporate America by introducing the HeLP America Act, a bill that includes several provisions to protect children from commercial exploitation. Most importantly, the bill would reinstate the Federal Trade Commission’s authority to restrict marketing to children; child-directed marketing has escalated exponentially since corporate lobbyists persuaded Congress to rescind the FTC’s power to regulate advertising to children in 1980. If passed, the act will also help protect children from tobacco advertising, and limit the marketing of unhealthy food in schools. In addition, Senator Harkin’s amendment to the Child Nutrition Act will help schools address junk food consumption and obesity through the mandated creation of wellness policies.

“CCFC is privileged to have permission from Joanne Rogers and Family Communications, Inc., Fred Rogers’ production company, to give this award. We can think of no better recipient than Senator Harkin,” said Dr. Linn. “The Senator’s proposed policies give hope to parents everywhere that the government will support their efforts to raise healthy children.”

“It's a great honor to receive an award in Fred Rogers' name,” said Senator Harkin. “Just as there is no one cause of obesity, there is no single solution. Parents' wishes - and parents' authority - are undermined by the deluge of junk-food advertising. If we are serious about beating the childhood obesity epidemic, then everyone must chip in-parents, schools, Congress, and yes, even the food industry."










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