For the past few months, Fathers & Families activists such as Peter Hill have attended public appearances by Governor Deval Patrick (pictured right with President Obama). On each occasion, one or more activists have asked Governor Patrick to support shared parenting. Governor Patrick noticed the concern, and suggested to Peter that a meeting be arranged.
Peter and I met with the Governor today, together with Todd Sandahl, Wayne Jewett, and Bob Norton. The Governor was gracious and appeared sincere. He listened intently, and clearly gave thought to our comments. He asked good questions. He asked for more information on certain issues. The Governor continued the discussion for 10-15 minutes after his aide had told him that we were beyond the scheduled time.
A variety of issues were raised, including child support, restraining orders and jailings of fathers. My comments were consistently focused on increasing access to our children. I advocated continuing dialogue to explore and analyze the obstacles that are placed between fit fathers and their children. I emphasized the benefits to children, and the overwhelming public support for shared parenting.
The Governor mulled over various follow-up activities, but made no specific commitments. Nevertheless, I had the feeling that there will be continuing dialogue in some form. Peter Hill shares my view. He wrote, “This was a tremendously positive meeting. I have met with lots of Governors in my day, and this Governor is the most approachable and easy to talk to and he does listen.’
Peter deserves credit for obtaining this meeting. He and others also deserve credit for going to the Governor”s public appearances to advocate for shared parenting. I urge that all of you continue to do this, (see schedule here) so the Governor will know that our interest is not just a flash in the pan.
The progress of this movement is directly related to the enthusiasm, activism, and financial support of our members. Please keep up the good work, and also consider making a tax deductible gift to support our activities by clicking here.
I will keep you informed of any future developments.
Together with you in the love of our children,
Ned Holstein, M.D., M.S.
Founder and Chair of the Board