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September 7, 2016
By: Ned Holstein, M.D., M.S., Founder and Chair of the Board, National Parents Organization

Most people are unaware of this, but there are elections in Massachusetts on Thursday, September 8, 2016. At least two of them are of importance to our Massachusetts readers.

First, in Berkshire County, three Democrats are facing off in a primary election to fill an open seat in the state Senate. One of them is a long-time supporter of shared parenting and the other two oppose it. The winner will surely win the general election in November and take a seat in the Senate in January, since Republicans will probably not even put up a candidate in this hard-Democratic part of the state. Since there is resistance to our shared parenting bill in the Senate, (which was passed in the Massachusetts House), every Senate vote in favor of it counts.

One candidate for the Democratic nomination is Rinaldo DelGallo. Mr. DelGallo is a divorced father who has been an outspoken advocate for reform of the family courts and for shared parenting.

According to DelGallo’s column in the Berkshire Eagle newspaper, rival candidate Andrea Harrington said that instead of shared parenting, she is in favor of “maternal preference.” In other words, she thinks it is correct for family courts to favor mothers over fathers. And candidate Adam Hines declined to answer whether he supported shared parenting at one of the election debates. In a follow-up debate, Mr. Hines said that he did not support shared parenting legislation.

We have not independently confirmed the positions of the three Democratic candidates on shared parenting. Moreover, as a non-profit we do not endorse any particular candidate for public office. We are allowed, however, to disseminate information about candidates, which is what we have done above. Aside from the shared parenting issue, we do not know the relative strengths or weaknesses of the three candidates.

The other election of interest is that for the Governor’s Council in Massachusetts. The members of the Governor’s Council are elected statewide. The job of the Governor’s Council is to evaluate people who have been nominated for judgeships by the Governor and approve or disapprove them. Marilyn Pettito Devaney is currently a member of the Governor’s Council and is running for re-election. She also publicly favors shared parenting and is a member of Leading Women for Shared Parenting. We have not been informed of the views of other candidates on shared parenting. According to Terry Brennan of Leading Women for Shared Parenting, “To the best of my knowledge, Marilyn is the only Council member who meets with every judge prior to a vote and conducts a thorough investigation of each judicial candidate.”

Once again, we cannot endorse candidates, but we can pass on to you what we know about them and encourage you to vote for the candidate of your choice.

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