[ed_note]The Globe article has been corrected. Sherry was either misquoted or retracted the statement. The correction isn’t clear about what happened. We don’t have any issue with the Creem campaign’s current statement.[/ed_note]
Following today’s endorsement of Charles Rudnick by Warren Tolman and George Bachrach, the Globe contacted the Creem Campaign for a reaction.
Toward the end of the article, Mike Sherry, Cynthia Creem’s campaign manager, tells a whopper:
“Sherry said Creem has set up a task force that is going to report back with a proposal to change state child custody and alimony laws, and he said that by this time next year the senator expects consensus legislation will be passed.”
Creem is in a very tough race, with Rudnick probably in the lead. (See the Newton Tab’s online poll). And she finds herself on the defensive about her failure to make progress on two popular family court reform bills for Alimony Reform (H1785) and Shared Parenting (H1400).
Creem has tried to portray her obstructionist record, and the fact that she belatedly organized a lobbyist filled task force to study Alimony Reform as a record of leading on Alimony Reform. And she has parsed her words carefully minimizing her work as a divorce lawyer by saying she only “litigated” a few divorces this year. Anyone with experience in family law knows that only about one case in 20 is litigated. For each case litigated probably 20 were represented.
But her campaign has avoided saying outright untruths – until now.
Cynthia Creem did help organize a task force to study two alimony reform bills last year, H1785 and S1616, Creem’s own two word “reform” bill. But this task force was never authorized to study any changes to state child custody laws.
Advocates for shared parenting have asked the chairmen of the Judiciary Committee, numerous times last year, to organize such a task force and Sen. Cynthia Creem and Rep. Eugene O’Flaherty have steadfastly refused to do so. Activists then appealed to Governor Patrick to organize such a task force, and though he twice publicly promised to organize one – he also has taken no action.
Cynthia Creem’s own press release, in September 2009, referred to it as the “Alimony Reform Task Force.” The working document which is the only product of the task force’s three meetings consists of a draft alimony reform bill. Changes to child custody laws have never been discussed in the deliberations of the Alimony Task force.
Unless Mr. Sherry has been misquoted, his statement is a complete fabrication. The current task force is in no position to make any recommendations for changes in the state’s child custody laws.
It seems that in order to deflect criticism that Cynthia Creem has not taken action on shared parenting, that Mr. Sherry is hoping that voters will not know the details, and that he can cast the Alimony Task force as some kind of “family court reform task force.”
If Cynthia Creem has had a change of heart about the need for reform of the state’s child custody laws – then that is welcome news.
In the mean time, she should be honest with voters about what she has done to reform the state’s imperfect child custody laws – nothing.