Only in the Second Suffolk

Hassan WilliamsHassan WilliamsSenator Sonia Chang-DiazSenator Sonia Chang-DiazOnly in the deeply blue Second Suffolk District could a Democrat get blasted by another Democrat for allegedly not giving credit to former state Sen. Dianne Wilkerson on something.

At a time when many Massachusetts Dems likely cringe (and Republicans smile) at the mention of Wilkerson's name, Roxbury attorney Hassan Williams says state Sen. Sonia Chang-Diaz, when she talks up bills lawmakers have passed this year dealing with criminal offender reform, foreclosure prevention, and summer jobs, isn't giving due credit to Wilkerson for originally filing and supporting them.

“Give credit to the person who actually did it,” Williams,who is challenging Chang-Diaz in a Democratic primary, said at last night's MassVOTE forum in Hibernian Hall.

He said later, “In law school, we called it plagiarism.”

Chang-Diaz hit back, saying after the forum: “I’ve always been clear about what my role in CORI reform has been.” (And, she noted, that the top name on the final version of CORI reform legislation was Sen. Harriette Chandler, a Worcester Democrat.)

She added: “I think it’s a visibly false charge.”

Williams at another forum has pointed to Chang-Diaz refiling a number of bills that Wilkerson filed during her State House tenure. Senators often refile bills pushed by their like-minded predecessors and members of the community as a standard State House practice.

The Democratic primary is on Sept. 14.

They'll face off two more times this week: Tonight at the Nate Smith House in Jamaica Plain at 7 p.m., and at another MassVOTE forum on Thursday, this one in Prince Hall at 6 p.m.

Jamaica Plain Progressives, a local group of activists, also has candidate questionnaires up from the two of them:

Chang-Diaz beat Wilkerson by 228 votes in a racially-charged Democratic primary in 2008. Weeks later, Wilkerson was arrested on federal corruption charges, to which she has pleaded guilty.

Read more about the forums from Tuesday night and last week in Thursday's Reporter.

SEE ALSO: The Bay State Banner also has a write-up of the race.