Outgoing Cape senator imagines better future

In case you missed it, Sen. Dan Wolf delivered farewell remarks, capping off a six-year run representing the Cape & Islands District….
(story originally published in the Cape Cod Times on Dec. 19, 2016 by Geoff Spillane)

As he bids farewell, Daniel Wolf says he plans to be citizen activist.

BOSTON – A thankful Sen. Daniel Wolf, D-Harwich, delivered farewell remarks during a session of the Massachusetts Senate on Monday, capping off a six-year run representing the Cape & Islands District.

“The last six years have been an honor and a blessing,” Wolf said at the opening of his 20-minute speech after receiving a standing ovation.

Wolf announced late last year that he would not seek a fourth term, opting to return full time to his business – he is founder and CEO of Cape Air – and his family.

But Senate President Stanley Rosenberg, D-Amherst, said he was sure that Monday’s address would not be the last time the Legislature would hear from Wolf, a comment that raised more than a few eyebrows in the Senate gallery.

Wolf has been rumored to be a possible challenger to Republican Gov. Charlie Baker in 2018 and has neither confirmed nor denied his interest.

Rosenberg and Sen. Jamie Eldridge, D-Acton, introduced Wolf before he addressed his colleagues and the friends, relatives and staff members who gathered for the farewell.

Eldridge said Wolf’s lack of political experience did not place him at a disadvantage when he took office.

“What he lacked in political experience, he made up for in passion,” said Eldridge, citing Wolf’s work advocating for the environment, fishing industry, economic justice and closure of the Pilgrim Nuclear Power Station.

Rosenberg applauded Wolf’s record of sponsoring legislation and his role as chairman of the Joint Committee on Labor and Workforce Development.

“Your leadership and vision have benefited us enormously,” he said.

Wolf referred to the commencement speech he gave at his high school graduation 41 years ago involving the Greek myth of Icarus, who flew too close to the sun because he did not abide by his father’s advice of not flying too high or too low.

“If I’ve learned anything, it’s moderation and balance,” said Wolf, referencing the economy and climate change. “Things won’t be sustainable if they are out of balance.”

He also joked that he had not yet planned a career in aviation when he delivered the high school address.

Wolf noted that he has been called a progressive, liberal and radical during his time on Beacon Hill but said there has been nothing extreme about what he wanted for people of his district and the state.

Saying he planned to remain a citizen activist, Wolf referenced John Lennon’s classic hit “Imagine,” which was his wedding song more than 30 years ago.

As he leaves the Senate, Wolf said he would continue to “imagine” an economy that benefits the working class and creates true opportunities for all, a healthier environment, improved transportation that includes a modern MBTA and commuter rail service to the South Coast and substance abuse solutions that provide hope to addicts and hold pharmaceutical companies accountable.

In a nod to the district he served, senators present during the session had a parting holiday gift from Wolf on their desks when they entered the chamber – a cranapple pie from Centerville Pie Co. He jokingly told his fellow senators he had a dream that a nonpartisan pie fight broke out on the Senate floor.

In addition to Wolf, state Sen. Benjamin Downing, D-Pittsfield, gave a farewell address Monday. Downing, who also opted not to seek re-election, was introduced by Wolf.

Wolf’s successor, Democrat Julian Cyr, of Truro, will be sworn into office Jan. 4. Cyr did not attend Wolf’s farewell address.

Before leaving the Senate chamber, Wolf and Downing were presented with commemorative chairs by Sen. Marc Pacheco, D-Taunton.

“They are not rocking chairs,” Pacheco said. “We expect to hear more of you in the future.”

– Follow Geoff Spillane on Twitter: @GSpillaneCCT.

Photo credit: Timothy Johnson