Daniel A. "Dan" Wolf (born August 11, 1957) is an American entrepreneur, pilot, and politician. In 1989 he founded the Cape Cod-based airline Cape Air, which originally flew between Provincetown and Boston in Massachusetts, and has since expanded internationally. In 2010 he was elected to the Massachusetts Senate to represent the Cape and Islands district. He ran unopposed in 2012 and was subsequently re-elected to a second term. During his tenure in the Senate, he emerged as a progressive voice, advocating for renewable energy, workers' rights, and universal health care.
On June 10, 2013 he announced his intention to seek the Democratic nomination for Governor of Massachusetts in the 2014 election. Following an injunction by the State Ethics Commission over his ownership of Cape Air, he announced the suspension of his campaign and his intent to appeal the ruling. On October 21, Wolf announced he would withdraw from the nomination, over ongoing issues with the Ethics Commission.
Early life and education
Wolf was born on August 11, 1957 in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania, and spent summers in Cape Cod with his family. Wolf attended the Germantown Friends School in Philadelphia, and went on to receive a Bachelor of Arts in political science from Wesleyan University in 1980. After college he earned a degree in Airframe and Power Plant Maintenance at the Quaker School of Aeronautics. He earned a private and commercial pilot's license while working in Boston as a community and union organizer. In the 1980s he was the manager of the Chatham Municipal Airport and worked as a flight instructor before founding Cape Air in 1988.
In 1988 Wolf founded the airline company Cape Air, which at the time flew solely between Boston and Provincetown, Massachusetts. Since flying one route with eight employees and one plane, it has expanded to become the largest independent regionally based airline. Cape Air now serves parts of the East Coast, Midwestern United States, the Caribbean, and Micronesia with around 1,000 employees. In 1994, Nantucket Airlines was purchased by and became a subsidiary of Cape Air. Cape Air is an employee-owned company, and the only airline in the United States with a female President. After being elected to the Massachusetts Senate, Wolf still pilots on the weekends in the summer.
With assistance from a government grant, Cape Air expanded into Indiana on November 13, 2007, offering flights from Indianapolis to Evansville and South Bend. But because it did not get the passengers needed to be financially successful, the last Cape Air flight in Indiana was on August 31, 2008. In September 2010, the United States Department of Transportation's Essential Air Service (EAS) selected Cape Air to fly a federally subsidized route connecting Augusta, Maine and Boston. Service began in December 2010.
Following incumbent Robert O'Leary's announcement that he would retire to run for the United States House of Representatives, Wolf declared that he would run to succeed him, one month before the deadline. Wolf characterized his motivation for entering politics as a call of duty, saying he had "become increasingly concerned seeing the challenges through the eyes of [my] front line employees."
His campaign set records for fundraising with a war chest of over $300,000, much more than either of his opponents. In the Democratic primary Wolf faced and defeated Barnstable County Commissioner, Sheila Lyons, in a landslide with nearly twice as many votes. In the general election Wolf defeated Republican real estate developer James H. Crocker Jr. In his 2012 bid for re-election Wolf faced no competition in either a primary or general election.
Although elected from a relatively conservative district, Wolf has emerged as a liberal and progressive. Wolf has focused on issues such as health care, employee benefits, the economy, and empowering the middle class.
A vocal advocate for universal and single-payer health care, Wolf is a supporter of both Massachusetts health care reform and President Barack Obama's Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act (PPACA). On July 10, 2012 Wolf testified before the United States House Committee on Oversight and Government Reform to discuss the effects of the two laws. Despite repeated attempts by Republican members on the committee to sway him into commenting that the laws would stifle business and hurt employees, Wolf continually defended the reforms. Wolf's statement was eventually cut short by Republican Chairman Darrell Issa, a staunch PPACA opponent. Wolf supported an amendment which would have implemented single-payer health care in Massachusetts if a study proved it was more effective in reducing costs than the state's current model; the amendment failed 15-22.
Wolf is a staunch supporter of mandated paid sick days for employees, with his company Cape Air offering paid leave to all employees. Wolf, along with Kay Khan in the House of Representatives introduced the "2013 Earned Paid Sick Time" bill, which would allow employees to one hour of paid sick leave for every thirty worked. The bill would protect one-third of the Massachusetts workforce, who are without access. As he was unable to attend, a video of Wolf advocating for paid sick leave was shown at a conference organized by the groups Progressive States Network and Family Values at Work.
As the Senator for Cape Cod, Wolf supports Cape Wind, a project to build an offshore wind farm in Nantucket Sound. His company Cape Air has been recognized as a leader in energy efficiency. In 2011 Northeast Energy Efficiency Partnerships praised the company for such initiatives as installing a major solar panel system at their headquarters, expanding office recycling, and distributing compact fluorescent light bulbs to employees.
Wolf has been a strong critic of the US Supreme Court's ruling in the Citizens United case, which allowed unrestricted independent spending in elections, and published an op-ed piece emphasizing the distinction between people and corporations. Wolf reiterated his opposition to corporate personhood at breakfast event, saying: "Cape Air and my daughters [are about] the same age... I've never actually confused my daughters for Cape Air."
Wolf serves on the following committees.
- Joint Committee on Labor and Workforce Development (Chair)
- Joint Committee on State Administration and Regulatory Oversight (Vice Chair)
- Joint Committee on Environment, Natural Resources and Agriculture
- Joint Committee on Community Development and Small Businesses
- Joint Committee on Public Service
- Joint Committee on Tourism, Arts and Cultural Development
- Joint Committee on Veterans and Federal Affairs
2014 Gubernatorial campaign
On July 10, 2013 Wolf announced his intention to seek the Democratic nomination for Governor of Massachusetts in the 2014 election via a YouTube video. At the 2013 Massachusetts Democratic Convention, Wolf was a keynote speaker, along with other declared gubernatorial candidates: Joseph Avellone, and Donald Berwick. Massachusetts Treasurer also announced his candidacy at the convention. In his campaign, Wolf has focused on his business experience. Wolf has also praised the work of incumbent Governor Deval Patrick and Senator Elizabeth Warren, promising to help grow the middle class.
On August 22, the Massachusetts Ethics Commission ruled that because Cape Air had contracts with the Massachusetts Port Authority (MassPort), he was ineligible for election as Governor due to a conflict of interest. In an email to supporters, Wolf stated that the options given to him by the commission to subvert his ineligibility were to either resign from his position as CEO of the company; cancel all contracts between Cape Air and MassPort; or resign from his Senate seat. Explaining that leaving his company or canceling contacts would put his employees' jobs at risk, he announced that he would be suspending his campaign, and he would resign from the Senate on August 29.
The Ethics Commission later granted his campaign a reprieve, allowing Wolf to make an appeal before them at a September 19 meeting. At the meeting, the Commission ruled 4-1 to change its rules which hindered Wolf's run for Governor. On October 15, Wolf released his case study, The Vision, the Path – A Case Study for the Commonwealth, outlining his plans for Massachusetts regarding proposals for education, health care, and other issues - similar to Paul Ryan's Path to Prosperity. On October 21, Wolf announced he was ending his campaign for Governor, due to the fact that even though the Ethics Commission voted to change its rules, the implementation would have likely taken several months.
Wolf is married to Heidi Schuetz, a chef in Cape Cod, and together they have three daughters: Stella, Zoey, and Ruby. In 2010, Wolf was awarded an honorary doctorate from Daniel Webster College. In March 2013, Wolf was interviewed by New England Cable News (NECN) for their ongoing series "The Boss", speaking about his life and rise to business and political success. Wolf has been a continuing contributor to the Barnstable Patriot. Wolf has served on a number of boards, including the Advisory Council for the Federal Reserve Bank of Boston, the Regional Airline Association, the Cape Cod Business Round Table, the Association for the Preservation of Cape Cod, the Housing Assistance Corporation of Cape Cod, and the Arts Foundation of Cape Cod.
- "Cape Air: The Resume". New England Cable News. The Boss. March 25, 2013. Retrieved July 15, 2013.
- "Cape Air's Founder & CEO, Dan Wolf" (PDF). Cape Air. Retrieved July 15, 2013.
- "Daniel A. Wolf". Commonwealth of Massachusetts. Retrieved July 15, 2013.
- David Scharfenberg (July 10, 2013). "Dan Wolf Declares For Governor". WBUR. Retrieved July 15, 2013.
- Julia Wells (May 20, 2010). "Cape Air Owner Runs for State Senate". Vineyard Gazette. Retrieved July 15, 2013.
- "About Us". Nantucket Airlines. Retrieved July 15, 2013.
- "Fact Sheet" (PDF). Cape Air. Nantucket Airlines. Retrieved July 15, 2013.
- "Cape Air Airlines". Altius Directory. Retrieved July 21, 2013.
- Sarah Shemkus. "Cape Air lands new rotes". Cape Cod Times. Retrieved February 13, 2012.
- Sarah Shemkus (July 4, 2008). "Cape Air competes for new routes". Cape Cod Times. Retrieved July 21, 2013.
- Shira Schoenberg (July 10, 2013). "State Sen. Daniel Wolf will run for Massachusetts governor". The Republican (Springfield, Massachusetts). Retrieved July 18, 2013.
- Molly A.K. Connors (Oct 28, 2010). "Wolf blowing away Crocker financially". MassEquality. Retrieved July 18, 2013.
- Nelson Sigelman (September 15, 2010). "Dan Wolf wins Dems state senate nod; Perry will face Keating in 10th district". The Martha's Vineyard Times. Retrieved July 15, 2013.
- Molly A.K. Connors (November 3, 2010). "Cape Air's Daniel Wolf wins Senate seat". Cape Cod Times. Retrieved July 15, 2013.
- John Watters (October 19, 2012). "With no opponent on horizon, it’s clear flying into Wolf’s second term". Barnstable Patriot. Retrieved July 15, 2013.
- Walter Brooks (October 31, 2012). "Dan Wolf for governor?". Cape Cod Today. Retrieved July 15, 2013.
- John McDonough (July 17, 2012). "A Massachusetts Business Voice for Health Reform". The Boston Globe. Retrieved July 15, 2013.
- Carey Goldberg (July 11, 2012). "Mr. Cape Air Goes To Washington (To Defend Health Reform)". WBUR. CommonHealth. Retrieved July 15, 2013.
- "Examining The Impact of Obamacare On Job Creators And The Economy" (PDF). United States House Committee on Oversight and Government Reform. Government Printing Office. July 10, 2012. Retrieved July 15, 2013.
- "Single payer amendment falls short in Senate". WickedLocal. GateHouse News Service. May 15, 2012. Retrieved July 15, 2013.
- "Pelosi, Capuano Come Together in Boston to Celebrate 20 Years of the FMLA". MassUniting.com. April 2, 2013. Retrieved July 15, 2013.
- "Senator Dan Wolf: Paid Sick Days is good public policy". Sugarhouse Media. Vimeo. December 2012. Retrieved July 15, 2013.
- "State Senator Dan Wolf". Cape Wind. Retrieved January 25, 2013.
- "Cape Air 2011 Northeast Energy Efficiency Business Leader". Northeast Energy Efficiency Partnerships. YouTube. Jan 25, 2012. Retrieved July 15, 2013.
- Paul Gauvin (October 1, 2010). "Cape Air's 'sunroof' makes Hyannis village greener". Barnstable Patriot. Retrieved January 25, 2013.
- Dan Wolf (April 5, 2012). "Are corporations people?". The Cape Codder. Retrieved January 25, 2013.
- "MA-Gov: Video from Dan Wolf's breakfast event in Lowell, 7-13-2013". Daily Kos. July 15, 2013. Retrieved July 15, 2013.
- "Member Profile - Daniel A. Wolf". Commonwealth of Massachusetts. Massachusetts General Court. Retrieved July 15, 2013.
- Hillary Chabot and Matt Stout (July 10, 2013). "Grossman expected to make gov run official". The Boston Herald. Retrieved July 15, 2013.
- "State Sen. Dan Wolf running for governor". WWLP. July 10, 2013. Retrieved July 15, 2013.
- Matt Murphy (Jul 10, 2013). "Wolf, Grossman to run for governor". The Sun (Lowell). Retrieved July 18, 2013.
- Jim O’Sullivan (Aug 22, 2013). "Wolf to resign, suspend campaign for gov". The Boston Globe. Retrieved Aug 22, 2013.
- "State Ethics Commission Gives Sen. Dan Wolf Temporary Reprieve". WBZ-TV. August 28, 2013. Retrieved August 28, 2013.
- Shira Schoenberg (August 28, 2013). "State Sen. Dan Wolf will not resign on Thursday". The Republican (Springfield, Massachusetts). Retrieved August 28, 2013.
- Joshua Miller (September 19, 2013). "State Senator Dan Wolf gets reprieve". The Boston Globe. Retrieved October 31, 2013.
- Dan Wolf (October 15, 2013). "The Vision, the Path – A Case Study for the Commonwealth" (PDF). Dan Wolf 2014. Retrieved October 31, 2013.
- Sara Brown (October 22, 2013). "Sen. Dan Wolf Ends Gubernatorial Campaign". Vineyard Gazette. Retrieved October 31, 2013.
- Robert Rizzuto (June 17, 2014). "Democrat Don Berwick's gubernatorial campaign endorsed by state Senators Dan Wolf, Ken Donnelly". MassLive Politics. Retrieved August 18, 2014.
- Daniel Wolf. "From The Senate: Dan Wolf". Barnstable Times. Retrieved July 15, 2013.
- Senator Dan Wolf web site
- Dan Wolf for Governor web site
- Dan Wolf for State Senate campaign web site
- Official Massachusetts Senate member profile