The push by some progressive Democrats to oust longtime Democratic state Sen. Cynthia Creem jumped up a notch Monday as two former state senators backed Creem's opponent in the Sept. 14 primary, suggesting in a letter that Creem has not been a leader but rather a follower in the senate.
“For many in this district, this campaign is the first time they discovered Cynthia Creem is their state senator,'' said former Senators George Bachrach and Warren Tolman in a letter to The Globe. "After twelve years, this is the first time they learned about her voting record. Perhaps it’s time for stronger, more visible leadership. Perhaps it’s time for a change.”
But Creem’s campaign shot back that the former senators have long had political ties to her opponent Charles Rudnick, who worked on Bachrach’s campaign for governor in 1994 and was the campaign manager for Tolman’s bid for governor in 2002.
Creem’s campaign manager Michael Sherry named a long list of endorsements that Creem has received in her bid for re-election, including the backing of U.S. Congressman Barney Frank, former Governor Michael Dukakis, Newton Mayor Setti Warren, and state representatives Kay Khan, Peter Koutoujian, Ruth Balser and Frank Smizik, among others.
Alan Khazei, D-Brookline, who ran for U.S. Senate last year, also endorsed Creem last week, and cited her progressive leadership, Creem’s campaign said.
“We’re really proud of the endorsements we have,” Sherry said.
Rudnick, who lives in Newton, is the first Democratic candidate to challenge Creem, also of Newton, since she was elected to the state Senate’s First Middlesex and Norfolk District seat in 1998. The seat represents Newton, Brookline and part of Wellesley. No Republicans are running for the seat, so the primary is expected to decide the race.
Bachrach and Tolman wrote that while Creem has been the chair of the Senate’s Judiciary Committee, she has offered little more than “further study” regarding problems with the state’s Probation Department and inequities in the state’s Probate and Family court system regarding child custody and alimony.
Bachrach and Tolman said leadership requires more to be done, and that Rudnick will lead from day one.
“This race is not about Democrats versus Republicans…or liberals versus conservatives,” Bachrach and Tolman wrote. “This race is about the future versus the past. It’s about leadership, not voting records.”
Sherry said Creem has set up a task force that is going to report back with a proposal to change alimony laws, and he said that by this time next year the senator expects consensus legislation will be passed.
Creem has been advocating for reform to the state’s Probation Department as far back as 2001 when she sent a letter to then Gov. Jane Swift saying too much power was being given to the department’s commissioner, Sherry said. Creem also filed a bill last year and again this year seeking changes to the Probation Department, Sherry said.
Sherry said Creem has also shown leadership in her efforts to reform state sentencing laws, close corporate loopholes, and expand stem cell research in the state.
“She doesn’t talk about it, she just does it,” Sherry said.
Due to a reporting error, an earlier version of this story incorrectly stated that the task force set up by state Sen. Cynthia Creem deals with child support issues. The task force considers issues related to alimony.