Senator Dan Wolf bid farewell to the Senate today after six passionate and productive years as the Senator from the Cape and Islands. Sen. Wolf has been a true champion for progressive causes in the Senate, and I was proud to introduce him today for his final floor speech. I will miss his friendship and his spirited fight for economic justice for all Massachusetts residents. Please see my full remarks below – Jamie
“Mr. President, I rise to speak and pay tribute to a colleague who has established a strong legacy in his short time here in the Senate, and has become a great personal friend, the gentleman from the Cape and Islands.
It is hard to believe that this businessman and community leader from Harwich was elected to the State Senate only six years ago. What he lacked in elected government experience, he more than made up for in passion for helping others, a pride in the unique nature and qualities of his district and constituents, an open heart and love for people and ideas, and an anger at the status quo that kept his fires burning for change that would make a difference in the lives of everyday people.
Our friend and colleague, Dan Wolf, is now leaving the Senate with his voice, fingerprints, and vision having made an impression on all of us, and the people of the Commonwealth of Massachusetts.
Mr. President, six years ago, who would have thought that Massachusetts would have one of the highest minimum wages, a strong paid sick time law, or the model equal pay law of the country? Who would have predicted that a nuclear power plant that many activists had fought for decades, would be on its way to closing? Or that the Cape and Islands would finally be on a path to bringing wind power to Massachusetts residents? And that the words of inequality, and the calls for economic justice, would be on the lips of politicians across the state? And let’s not forget that as the Senator from the Cape and Islands spoke passionately from this very Chamber for more fairness in our society, his daughter was proudly carrying on the family tradition of protest, as part of Occupy Wall Street.
Of course, so much of the work that we as Senators do bears directly on our districts. We are all proud of our districts, and the resident of Harwich was no exception when it came to expressing that pride, or fighting for his constituents. Working to protect the environment in one of the most popular vacation destinations in the country, helping protect the fishing industry and oyster beds on the shores of Cape Cod communities, and taking the very first steps to saving this beautiful region of Massachusetts from ecological disaster by investing in water infrastructure. That pride was often heard at the end of the Senate’s work week, expressed by, “If you’re on the Cape, let’s meet up. I’ll show you something interesting that we’re working on….”
The work and record of the gentleman from the Cape and Islands is a good reminder that our time as legislators on Beacon Hill can pass by quickly, and it is best to make the most of these years, not just for our districts, but for the entire Commonwealth.
These six years were not just about policy and legislation, however. They were also about reshaping how a legislative body works, and as I refer to it, the New Senate. Mr. President, you have transformed the Senate into a more deliberative, equal body, a change so profound it is difficult to properly describe. I want to thank the gentleman from the Cape and Islands for being a partner in these changes.
From discussing bills before they are debated, to working groups that draft complex pieces of legislation that actually tackle deep-seated problems in society, to the caucus policy sessions, to the values and themes that the Senate aspires to reach, the gentleman from the Cape and Islands has helped create a dynamic in this body that helps every single member of this body serve his or her constituents much better. Process includes, informs and guides policy, and impacts results.
Dan, thank you for caring deeply enough about the Senate, for each member, to put that time and energy, behind the scenes, to help transform this elected body. And I would add, thank you for having the kind of staff who challenged you, for putting your trust in them – it was a beautiful thing to see how you all worked together.
Finally, on a personal note, I want to thank the gentleman from Harwich for being such an incredible friend. Our almost daily check-ins on bills and politics of the day. Being the Jewish uncle I never had, including making sure I was well-fed by inviting me to your staff lunches, and your sense of humor. And of course, our long conversations about what exactly it means to be a Democrat, and what does the Democratic Party exactly stand for? To be continued on that.
And I will never forget the kindness you provided me, when I finally journeyed to the Cape to visit the house where my dad grew up, after his passing, the time you spent as I came to terms with my family’s loss.
The Senator from the Cape and Islands is leaving the Senate, but I know his passion for public service, his willingness to challenge the status quo, his frustration at seeing people fall behind while the greedy take a bigger piece of the pie, and his commitment to changing that, will go on. Thank you Dan, for giving your blood, sweat and tears on all of these fronts, in this chamber, for your service to your district, and for fighting for people from one corner of the Commonwealth to the other. It has been one of the greatest honors to serve with you, and also just a hell of a lot of fun.”