Rob Hahn, Independence Party candidate for governor, Monday announced plans to rewrite Minnesota's family law -- in ways that would benefit divorced dads, just like him, should he become governor.
His proposal, which would presume shared custody of kids in divorce cases, require couples to attend divorce classes and form an independent commission to review family court judges and attorneys, would not impact his, now settled, custody arrangement.
But, he said, his own experience divorcing last year inspired the proposal -- and his run for office.
It was at a meeting of the Center for Parental Responsibility that it occurred to him to run for governor.
"I think it was the first time I ever thought about it," Hahn said. Hahn is running in a primary, against IP-endorsed candidate Tom Horner, John Uldrich and Rahn Workcuff.
During that summer 2009 meeting, Hahn said, he thought: "This issue needs a leader." He calls it his "Harvey Milk" moment, after the San Francisco leader who galvanized the gay rights movement of the 1970s.
He said other issues, like the pending budget deficit, may be more pressing but changing family law would be a high priority should he become governor.
Hahn's move has a fictional precedent. From the opening scene -- a press conference -- of Hahn's book, "Robbob for Governor,"
"Thank you all for coming," I began. "My name is Robert Fleming, but you can call me Robbob. Today, I am announcing my candidacy for governor of the great state of Minnesota. I'm seeking this office with one major goal: to reform family law in this state. Like more than a quarter million people in Minnesota, I am a divorced parent who doesn't have physical custodial rights. The current system is a sham and needs to be changed. Not just changed but overhauled."
“I could wax poetically like every other candidate about how I’m for jobs, health care and education,” I began. “But who the hell isn’t? There’s a much bigger issue that needs this state’s attention: Family Law reform. To suggest by its name that it is actually family-oriented might be one of the biggest misnomers of our time. It’s a system controlled by many judicial hacks and slimy attorneys.
"The attorneys who practice so-called family law have a license to steal from their clients. Who are they kidding? These billing whores are not out to seek the best interest of their clients; they're out to prolong divorce cases as long as possible, so they can take as much money as possible. And parental rights? Bullocks. Our laws need to be changed to start with the premise of 50-50 custody and work from there.
"Oh, and by the way, I'm also for jobs, health care and education – just like John Kerry and every other candidate.”
The passage goes on:
"What made you decide to run?" the reporter from The Liberator inquired.
"I needed somewhere to channel the anger from my divorce proceedings, and I didn't think buying a gun was the right answer."