Dan Wolf

Daniel A. "Dan" Wolf (born August 11, 1957) is an American entrepreneur, aircraft 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 third term in 2014. During his tenure, he has emerged as a progressive leader in the Senate, advocating for renewable energy, increased minimum wage, and universal health care.

Dan Wolf
Dan Wolf in 2017
Dan Wolf in 2017
Member of the Massachusetts Senate
from the Cape and Islands district
In office
January 5, 2011 – January 4, 2017
Preceded byRobert O'Leary
Succeeded byJulian Cyr
Personal details
Daniel A. Wolf

(1957-08-11) August 11, 1957 (age 62)
Philadelphia, Pennsylvania
Political partyDemocratic
ResidenceHarwich, Massachusetts
Alma materWesleyan University (BA)
Professionbusinessman, entrepreneur,
aircraft pilot
PositionsCEO of Cape Air

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. Although the Commission eventually ruled in his favor, the nomination process was already well along, and he would eventually run for re-election to the Senate.

In 2015, Wolf confirmed that he would not seek a fourth term by running for re-election in 2016. He was succeeded by Julian Cyr (D-Truro). There remains speculation as to whether he will return to focusing on work as owner and pilot for his airline company, although he is considered a potential candidate for Governor in the future.

Early life and educationEdit

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.[1] After college he earned a degree in Airframe and Power Plant Maintenance at the Quaker School of Aeronautics.[2] 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.[3][4]

Cape AirEdit

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.[5] Cape Air now serves parts of the East Coast, Midwestern United States, the Caribbean, and Micronesia with around 1,000 employees.[2] In 1994, Nantucket Airlines was purchased by and became a subsidiary of Cape Air.[6] Cape Air is an employee-owned company,[1][7] and the only airline in the United States with a female President.[4] Since being elected to the Massachusetts Senate, Wolf continues to pilot during the summer on weekends.[1][8]

With assistance from a government grant, Cape Air expanded into Indiana on November 13, 2007, offering flights from Indianapolis to Evansville and South Bend. Because it did not get the passengers needed to be financially successful, the last Cape Air flight in Indiana was on August 31, 2008.[9] 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.[10]

Massachusetts SenateEdit


Cape Cod is the primary area Wolf represents in the Senate.
Dan Wolf in 2013
Then State Senator Dan Wolf speaking to a crowd drumming up support for Congressman Ed Markey in Hyannis in 2013

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.[5] Wolf expressed his motivation for entering politics because he had "become increasingly concerned seeing the challenges through the eyes of [my] front line employees."[11]

His campaign set records for fundraising with a war chest of over $300,000, more than either of his opponents.[12] In the Democratic primary Wolf faced and defeated Barnstable County Commissioner Sheila Lyons with nearly twice as many votes.[13] In the general election Wolf defeated Republican real estate developer James H. Crocker Jr.[14] In his 2012 bid for re-election Wolf faced no competition in either a primary or general election.[15] In 2014 Wolf was re-elected to his third term, defeating Republican Ron Beaty in the general election.[16][17]

In October 2015, The Boston Globe first reported that Wolf was considering not running for re-election. Weeks later in November, Wolf confirmed that he would remain in office, but would not seek re-election in 2016.[18] Wolf's political aspirations were prodded shortly after handily winning re-election in 2014, though he said he was more focused on serving his constituents than considering future office.[19] After rumors that Wolf would not seek re-election in 2016 to focus on a run for governor in 2018 began circulating, Senate President Stan Rosenberg suggested it was because Wolf wanted to focus more on running his airline company.[18]


Despite being elected from a relatively conservative district[by whom?], Wolf has emerged as a liberal and progressive member of the Senate. During his tenure, Wolf has mainly focused on issues such as health care, employee benefits, and middle class economics.[4][19]

An 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).[20] 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. Wolf's further statements on the positive aspects of PPACA were eventually cut short by chairman Darrell Issa, a staunch PPACA opponent.[21][22][23] Wolf supported a failed amendment in 2012 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.[24]

Wolf has been a consistent supporter of mandated paid sick days for employees, with his company Cape Air offering paid leave for all employees.[4] 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.[25] To generate support among other Senators, Wolf went so far as to hold a protest with workers' rights activists at a Dunkin' Donuts frequented by legislators.[26] While advocating for the bill in a committee hearing, Wolf admitted "it never occurred to me that there were that many businesses out there that didn't offer this as a benefit," and referred to the experience as "an eye-opener."[27] Although the proposal eventually expired without being passed, for reasons Wolf described as a compromise with the legislature having already passed an incremental minimum wage increase, he campaigned for a ballot measure in 2014 which would mandate universal employee sick time.[28]

As the Senator for Cape Cod, Wolf supports Cape Wind, a project to build an offshore wind farm in Nantucket Sound.[29] In 2011, Northeast Energy Efficiency Partnerships praised Wolf's company Cape Air for efficient initiatives such as installing a major solar panel system at their headquarters, expanding office recycling, and distributing compact fluorescent light bulbs to employees.[30][31]

Wolf has been a vocal critic of the Supreme Court's ruling in Citizens United v. FEC, and published an op-ed piece emphasizing the distinction between people and corporations.[32] Wolf reiterated his opposition to corporate personhood at breakfast event in his campaign for governor, joking: "Cape Air and my daughters [are about] the same age... I've never actually confused my daughters for Cape Air."[33] A supporter of adopting a constitutional amendment to overturn the Supreme Court decision, Wolf co-sponsored and voted for a resolution to do so.[34][35] As a guest speaker at a Brookings Institution's summit on Citizens United increase in political spending in 2016, Wolf said a constitutional amendment was vital for changing the political status quo.[36]

Consistently voting to increase the minimum wage, in 2014 Wolf supported a bill eventually signed into law which would reform unemployment insurance and increase Massachusetts' minimum wage to $11 an hour by 2017.[37] In 2015, Wolf joined the Fight for $15 and introduced legislation which would raise the minimum wage to $15 by 2018.[38] In doing so, Wolf acknowledged his "awkward, interesting place," being that the bill would increase wages of commercial employees at airports higher than his airline company, Cape Air, could pay its employees.[39] Wolf has similarly received criticism for Cape Air's participation in the federal Essential Air Service program, which grants millions of dollars in subsidies to airlines in exchange for flying less-profitable routes considered essential.[40]

Committee assignmentsEdit

Wolf serves on the following committees.[41]

  • Joint Committee on Labor and Workforce Development (Chair)[19]
  • Senate Committee on Steering and Policy (Chair)
  • Joint Committee on Tourism, Arts and Cultural Development
  • Joint Committee on Telecommunications, Utilities and Energy
  • Joint Committee on Revenue
  • Joint Committee on Community Development and Small Businesses

2014 gubernatorial campaignEdit

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 Steve Grossman also announced his candidacy at the convention.[42] 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.[43][44] 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.[45]

Prior to announcing his campaign for governor, Wolf submitted an inquiry to the Massachusetts Ethics Commission as a precaution there would be no conflict of interest.[46] However, on August 2 the Commission ruled that Wolf's 23% ownership of the company did create a conflict because Cape Air had ongoing contracts with the Massachusetts Port Authority (MassPort); Wolf was instructed he would either need to resign from the Senate and discontinue his campaign from Governor, divest his stake in Cape Air, or cancel all contracts between Cape Air and MassPort.[47] In a statement to supporters, explaining that departing his company or canceling contacts would put his employees' jobs at risk, he announced that he would suspend his campaign, and resign from the Senate.[48]

The Ethics Commission later granted his campaign a reprieve, allowing Wolf to make an appeal at their next scheduled meeting on September 19.[49] At the meeting, the Commission ruled 4–1 to reverse its decision which disqualified him from public office, allowing him to remain in office and renew his candidacy Governor.[50] 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.[51] On June 17, 2014, Wolf endorsed Don Berwick as the Democratic nominee for governor.[52]

Personal lifeEdit

Wolf is married to Heidi Schuetz, a chef on Cape Cod, and together they have three daughters: Stella, Zoe, and Ruby.[33] In 2010, Wolf was awarded an honorary doctorate from Daniel Webster College.[2]

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.[1] Wolf has been a continuing contributor to the Barnstable Patriot.[53] 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.[2][3]


  1. ^ a b c d "Cape Air: The Resume". New England Cable News. The Boss. March 26, 2014. Retrieved July 15, 2016.
  2. ^ a b c d "Cape Air's Founder & CEO, Dan Wolf" (PDF). Cape Air. Archived from the original (PDF) on November 12, 2013. Retrieved July 15, 2013.
  3. ^ a b "Daniel A. Wolf". Commonwealth of Massachusetts. Retrieved July 15, 2013.
  4. ^ a b c d David Scharfenberg (July 10, 2013). "Dan Wolf Declares For Governor". WBUR. Retrieved July 15, 2013.
  5. ^ a b Julia Wells (May 20, 2010). "Cape Air Owner Runs for State Senate". Vineyard Gazette. Retrieved July 15, 2013.
  6. ^ "About Us". Nantucket Airlines. Retrieved July 15, 2013.
  7. ^ "Fact Sheet" (PDF). Cape Air. Nantucket Airlines. Archived from the original (PDF) on September 21, 2013. Retrieved July 15, 2013.
  8. ^ Victoria Abbott Riccardi (March 25, 2016). "Cape Air's Dan Wolf is on board with public service". Boston Globe.
  9. ^ "Cape Air Airlines". Altius Directory. Retrieved July 21, 2013.
  10. ^ Jonathan Riskind (August 28, 2011). "Threat to airline subsidies leaves Maine up in the air". Portland Press Herald. Retrieved February 13, 2016.
  11. ^ Shira Schoenberg (July 10, 2013). "State Sen. Daniel Wolf will run for Massachusetts governor". The Republican. Retrieved July 18, 2013.
  12. ^ Molly A.K. Connors (October 28, 2010). "Wolf blowing away Crocker financially". MassEquality. Retrieved July 18, 2013.
  13. ^ 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.
  14. ^ Molly A.K. Connors (November 3, 2010). "Cape Air's Daniel Wolf wins Senate seat". Cape Cod Times. Archived from the original on September 21, 2013. Retrieved July 15, 2013.
  15. ^ 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.
  16. ^ William F. Galvin; Tim Wood. "McManus, Wolf, Cakounes Win, Keating Defeats Chapman in Mid-term Election". The Cape Cod Chronicle. Archived from the original on November 21, 2014.
  17. ^ "Hearty Election Night Turnout on Cape Cod: Local Winners include Mannal, Hunt, deMacedo, O'Keefe, Whelan, Wolf, Keating". CapeCod.com. November 4, 2014.
  18. ^ a b David Scharfenberg (November 5, 2015). "State Senator Daniel Wolf won't seek reelection, report says". Boston Globe.
  19. ^ a b c Carrie Gentile (October 16, 2015). "Wolf won't seek re-election". Cape Cod Times.
  20. ^ Walter Brooks (October 31, 2012). "Dan Wolf for governor?". Cape Cod Today. Retrieved July 15, 2013.
  21. ^ John McDonough (July 17, 2012). "A Massachusetts Business Voice for Health Reform". Boston Globe. Retrieved July 15, 2013.
  22. ^ Carey Goldberg (July 11, 2012). "Mr. Cape Air Goes To Washington (To Defend Health Reform)". WBUR. Retrieved July 15, 2013.
  23. ^ "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.
  24. ^ "Single payer amendment falls short in Senate". WickedLocal. GateHouse News Service. May 15, 2012. Retrieved July 15, 2013.
  25. ^ "Pelosi, Capuano Come Together in Boston to Celebrate 20 Years of the FMLA". MassUniting.com. April 2, 2013. Retrieved July 15, 2013.
  26. ^ Michael Norton (January 24, 2013). "Dan Wolf's sick leave bill protest at State House Dunkin Donuts". Cape Cod Today.
  27. ^ Ryan Barber (September 24, 2013). "Daniel Wolf lobbies for paid sick days". Cape Cod Times.
  28. ^ Benjamin Swasey (September 30, 2014). "Sick Time For All?: A Look at Mass. Ballot Question 4". WBUR.
  29. ^ "State Senator Dan Wolf". Cape Wind. Archived from the original on April 26, 2011. Retrieved January 25, 2013.
  30. ^ "Cape Air 2011 Northeast Energy Efficiency Business Leader". Northeast Energy Efficiency Partnerships. January 25, 2012. Retrieved July 15, 2013 – via YouTube.
  31. ^ Paul Gauvin (October 1, 2010). "Cape Air's 'sunroof' makes Hyannis village greener". Barnstable Patriot. Retrieved January 25, 2013.
  32. ^ Dan Wolf (April 5, 2012). "Are corporations people?". The Cape Codder. Retrieved January 25, 2013.
  33. ^ a b "MA-Gov: Video from Dan Wolf's breakfast event in Lowell, 7-13-2013". Daily Kos. July 15, 2013. Retrieved July 15, 2013.
  34. ^ Lee Roscoe (July 13, 2011). "The best democracy money can buy". Cape Cod Times.
  35. ^ "Overturn the Citizens United ruling". The Martha's Vineyard Times. April 4, 2012.
  36. ^ "The campaign finance crisis in America and how to fix it: A solutions summit" (PDF). Brookings Institution. January 21, 2016.
  37. ^ Matt Murphy; Gintautas Dumcius; Andy Metzger (June 12, 2014). "Massachusetts Senate votes to raise minimum wage to $11 an hour by 2017". The Republican.
  38. ^ Matt Murphy (November 11, 2015). "Wolf energizes rally for $15 minimum wage". Cape Cod Times.
  39. ^ Katie Lannan (February 9, 2016). "State Sen. Dan Wolf, pushing $15 an hour wage, describes his 'awkward reality'". The Republican.
  40. ^ Ryan Barber (March 23, 2014). "Wolf rejects 'subsidy' label". Cape Cod Times.
  41. ^ "Member Profile – Daniel A. Wolf". Commonwealth of Massachusetts. Massachusetts General Court. Retrieved July 15, 2013.
  42. ^ Hillary Chabot; Matt Stout (July 10, 2013). "Grossman expected to make gov run official". Boston Herald. Retrieved July 15, 2013.
  43. ^ "State Sen. Dan Wolf running for governor". WWLP. July 10, 2013. Archived from the original on November 4, 2013. Retrieved July 15, 2013.
  44. ^ Matt Murphy (July 10, 2013). "Wolf, Grossman to run for governor". The Sun. Retrieved July 18, 2013.
  45. ^ Dan Wolf (October 15, 2013). "The Vision, the Path – A Case Study for the Commonwealth" (PDF). Dan Wolf 2014. Archived from the original (PDF) on November 2, 2013. Retrieved October 31, 2013.
  46. ^ Dan Wolf (August 7, 2013). "Wolf: Ethics ruling bars run for governor". Commonwealth Magazine.
  47. ^ Frank Phillips (August 7, 2013). "Wolf vows to continue campaign despite ethics ruling on his ownership of Cape Air". Boston Globe.
  48. ^ Andy Metzger (August 23, 2013). "State Sen. Dan Wolf lambastes ethics commission, says he'll quit seat and gubernatorial race". The Republican.
  49. ^ Shira Schoenberg (August 28, 2013). "State Sen. Dan Wolf will not resign on Thursday". The Republican. Retrieved August 28, 2013.
  50. ^ Joshua Miller (September 19, 2013). "State Senator Dan Wolf gets reprieve". Boston Globe. Retrieved October 31, 2013.
  51. ^ Sara Brown (October 22, 2013). "Sen. Dan Wolf Ends Gubernatorial Campaign". Vineyard Gazette. Retrieved October 31, 2013.
  52. ^ 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.
  53. ^ Daniel Wolf. "From The Senate: Dan Wolf". Barnstable Times. Archived from the original on June 22, 2013. Retrieved July 15, 2013.

External linksEdit