Dan Wolf is the two-term State Senator from the Cape and Islands, one of the most unusual legislative districts in the country, stretching from the far tip of Provincetown across 11 Cape towns to Barnstable and including the islands of Martha’s Vineyard, Nantucket, and Gosnold. He was first elected in November, 2010, after his first campaign, and re-elected with the highest vote count of any Massachusetts State Senator in November, 2012. This is his first elected position.
Dan’s family roots are in Philadelphia. He came to the Cape in his first year of life, and grew up summering along the shores of Pleasant Bay. With four siblings, a father who is a successful business entrepreneur, and a mother who is a professor of American history, family conversations around the dinner table were always spirited, and often political. Dan attended Germantown Friends School for 13 years; Quaker values and education shaped his worldview.
After graduating from Wesleyan University in Middletown Connecticut in 1980 with a bachelor’s degree in political science, Dan combined his passions: Cape Cod and airplanes. He earned his private pilot license at the Chatham Municipal Airport and then his commercial pilot and flight instructor certificates while in Hyannis. After working as a community and union organizer in the Boston area, he returned to the Cape in the mid-1980s to manage the Chatham Municipal Airport, where he worked as a flight instructor and aircraft mechanic.
In 1988, Dan and a handful of others founded what would become Cape Air and Nantucket Airlines. They began with one airplane, and one route – Provincetown to Boston. Twenty-five years later, Cape Air is one of the largest independent regional airlines in the country, with service in regions as diverse as Puerto Rico and the Caribbean, upstate New York, and Guam. Cape Air employs more than 1000 people, one of the largest employers in the region. Headquarters remain in Hyannis.
In 1995, in keeping with Dan’s principles of marrying sound business and fair equity, Cape Air became an employee-owned company. In addition, the company is an environmental leader and has initiated a comprehensive Greening Initiative. The cornerstone is one of the largest photovoltaic systems in southeastern Massachusetts, two roof-top arrays which create more than 100 percent of the electricity used in the company’s administration and maintenance headquarters.
In his first two terms, Dan has served as co-Chair of the Committee on Labor and Workforce Development, and brought his business, philanthropic, and environmental background to the Senate to become one of the strongest proponents in the state for the belief that our economy should serve the core beliefs of our citizens, rather than define our direction. Whether the issue be raising the minimum wage, ensuring earned sick time for all workers, or zoning reform, solving the Cape’s wastewater crisis, insurance fairness, and pushing for a renewable energy policy that includes closing the Pilgrim Nuclear Power Station, this is the prism through which every important debate and vote must be seen.
Dan and his wife Heidi Schuetz have lived in the same house in Harwich for 25 years, raising three daughters. All three graduated from Nauset Regional High School.