I had a half-hour conversation with Senator Creem today about shared parenting, which she initiated. She is the Co-Chair of the Judiciary Committee, where our shared parenting bill languishes. I am reporting this conversation, which is only one of many I have had with numerous legislators, because there has been a good deal of internet traffic about her position on our bill, and because she is an influential legislator in a tough re-election fight.
The main points are as follows:
1) She does not feel that she can support our shared parenting bill, HB 1400, without extensive consultations with parties who oppose it, such as the Women”s Bar Association, the Massachusetts Bar Association, and the Boston Bar Association. She says she is running from dawn to dusk with the demands of her re-election campaign, as well as controversial business still before the Legislature, such as gambling, the budget, immigration and more. She does not have time to engage in these discussions until the next session of the Legislature (January 2011).
2) She is happy to meet with me and other representatives of Fathers and Families in January to see what can be done in the way of a shared parenting bill.
3) She refuses to meet with those who she feels have disparaged her, publicly called her “corrupt,’ or tried to “bully’ her in person, on the internet or at demonstrations.
4) HB 1400 is a House bill, not Senate, and she urges us to pursue our activism through House Co-Chair Eugene O”Flaherty, who she says has the power to move this bill.
My recommendation is that we continue to urge all our elected officials to give kids what they want and need – more time with both their parents after separation or divorce. It is in our interest to do this with a mutually respectful dialogue that aims to persuade, not confront.
I have always maintained that the road to success is to have thousands of people speaking softly rather than a few people shouting. We must do our homework, build our support, build our alliances, build our membership, finance our efforts and create an army that is deafening because it consists of thousands of people speaking softly. This is painstaking, hard, frustrating, ground-up work, but we are doing it well, and it is the road to success.
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Together with you in the love of our children,
Ned Holstein, M.D., M.S.
Chair of the Board
Fathers and Families