Meeting with Congressional Staff – 2001

25 June, 2001 – Sent a letter to the staff contact of both Senator Schumer and Senator Clinton asking for a meeting to review the wording and discuss potential changes.

May 2001- Left message for a follow up meeting with the staffs of Senator Schumer & Senator Clinton. Got a return call from Senator Clinton’s office and was told a meeting would be setup to review the wording of the Family Rights Act, but then nothing.

25 April, 2001 –  Review some pictures of the event.  We sent a letter for a follow up meeting to the staff of Senator Clinton and also received a disappointing letter from Congressman James Walsh of Syracuse.

23 April, 2001 –  Receive what appears to be a standard form response from the office of Senator Clinton, not even appropriate to our topic.


David Shackelton
Publisher of “Everyman Magazine” and active in the reform movement in Canada.
Donna Dillman, Andrew MacDonald & Elisha Rubacha

We (Andrew and Donna) enjoy joint custody week on/week off with Elisha’s dad

Rich Eichinger
An engineer from Ft. Wayne, Indiana.  For the last two years had shared equal time with his children.  Final settlement of his divorce changed that to “every other weekend.”Story at Hall of Shame.

Mary Chancellor
Public relations person for AKidsRight.Org

Attended from Tennessee.

NonViolent Action
John Murtari is on the left. Rich Eichinger on the right (and above).John is shown carrying “the picture” he used inside the building outside of the offices of Congressman James Walsh.
“the picture”
Carried inside the building, had a photo of Rich’s children on one side and Dr. Malcom Hatfield on the right.Story at Hall of Shame.


16 April, 2001 – More details, including pictures, will soon be posted at the site.

In the morning we had a meeting to discuss the process and methods for reform. We also prepared our “petitions” for our Congressional representatives and were also able to schedule meetings that day with the local staff of U.S Senators Charles Schumer and Hillary Clinton.

  • Senator Charles Schumer

We had an hour meeting with Jill Harvey, of Senator Schumer’s office, and all of us came away with a good feeling. She was aware of the issues and listened to the some of the stories we told. She was interested in getting backup information (which we will be asking your help in collecting).

On at least two different occassions she expressed how impressed she was by our committment. That a bunch of “regular people” had taken time off from their regular jobs to drive all the way to Syracuse to express their desires.

She was also impressed by our attitude. She did NOT detect hostility towards the system and former spouses. She told us about another group that had contacted the Senator, but their “anger” was going to get in the way of making progress.

She positively told us she was going to recommend that the Senator take a serious look at this. He is a member of the Senate Judiciary Committee.

  • Senator Hillary  Rodham Clinton

There was a shorter meeting with Senator Clinton’s staff, it was a VERY different atmosphere. The staff people were rushed, they seemed to have prejudged things and were ready to just dismiss us. We are going to try to arrange another meeting with them to get a fresh start.

  •  NonViolent Action

We wish you all could have heard Senator Schumer’s aid recognize the efforts those attending had made. She was impressed by our willingness to sacrifice and the clear love she could see for our children. Email campaigns and letter writing help, but when they see you took two days away from work/home to have a face-to-face meeting. Your actions speak louder than any words.

At the end of the day John Murtari started a brief walk inside the building carrying the pictures of two other parents and their children. He was initially told he had to leave or face arrest. After John explained to them that prior charges had been dismissed, they checked with supervisors again and he was left alone, but told “not to come back, or you will be arrested.”

  • Future Plans

We will be following up with staff. We are trying to plan similar events for May 21 (the week after Mother’s day), and June 25 (the week after Father’s day). If you want to setup a meeting in your local area with your Senator or Representative, please let us know and we can help with planning.

9 April, 2001 –  Letters are sent to U.S. Senator Charles Schumer and  U.S. Senator Hillary Rodham Clinton.   We also let the building manager know what our plans are.

Our letter to Representative James Walsh is a bit different.  We have met with his staff once, but right not he just refuses to even acknowledge that Civil Rights for Parents is even a national issue.   We hope by our efforts to show him there is public attention.

9 April, 2001 –  part of the events for Monday is a planned “walk” outside the offices of Representative James Walsh.  So far he has refused to even acknowledge the “rights of parents” as a national issue deserving Constitutional protection.  For those walking, with the possible risk of arrest, we are happy to say that two attorneys have volunteered to help during any initial arraignment. We all express our great thanks!

1. Mr. Charles Keller – involved in State practice. He represented John Murtari during his previous “walks” in the Federal Building and his strong voice was key in getting all charges dismissed and convincing state and federal officials that such walks should be allowed to proceed. (

2. Mr. James Stern – involved in Federal practice. Associated with the local ACLU with experience in Civil Rights work.

REMEMBER – Again, we are Again, we are trying to keep a positive and courteous attitude at all times. These are good people that we are dealing with (certainly no worse than any of us are!). They may have trouble understanding our situations and goals. We will help them understand, NOT by insults, but by demonstrating OUR willingness to sacrifice for the sake of our children.