Story URL: http://news.medill.northwestern.edu/chicago/news.aspx?id=209615
Story Retrieval Date: 9/23/2014 3:23:45 PM CST
Tim Wolfe called his father to tell him he was running for Congress.
“Do you know what you are getting into?” said his father, Earl Wolfe. “Politics can be very hard on people and their families.”
Yet for the political newcomer this challenge is more than a congressional race against incumbent U.S. Rep. Schakowsky (D-Chicago) for the 9th District. It’s an example of the American Dream, a dream that started with his dad half a century ago.
The Republican newcomer says Earl Wolfe grew up in eastern Tennessee in an area called Poor Valley, and was so poor that they couldn’t even afford a jam sandwich, but went on to serve in the Army and Navy.
“My father ultimately began his own successful dry cleaning business,” the congressional candidate said.
“Because of the opportunities in America and the hard work” his parents were able to send all three of their children to college, said Wolfe.
Now he wants the next generation to have those same opportunities. But he is not sure that is possible for everyone in the current economy.
In an interview on Wednesday at the candidate’s tax and accounting business in Mt. Prospect, Wolfe said he is running for Congress because of the high national debt and struggling economy.
He said that if voters are unhappy with the current political situation in Congress “why are we electing the same people back?”
If victorious, Wolfe's priorities would include simplifying the tax code and lower the national debt, a goal that would put his background as a certified public accountant to good use.
Gerry DeNotto, a voter from Mt. Prospect, said his area needs new representation and change to improve the economy. DeNotto supports Wolfe because he “is a constitutional conservative who believes in a government of limited and defined powers.”
DeNotto has given up on Schakowsky because he said that she will vote for “more spending, more taxation, and more debt.” Calls made to the incumbent's office were not returned.
Even with support, Wolfe knows this race is an uphill battle.
“I have been told from day one you are not going to win,” Wolfe said. Voters in the 9th District are overwhelming Democratic and Schakowsky has represented the area since January 1999.
Even with the prospect of losing Wolfe said that being silent and disengaged from local politics contributes to our current national problems. As a taxpayer he sat on the sidelines for too many years while Congress misdirected the public, he said. As a congressman, he would try to increase people's awareness about legislation passed in Washington, D.C.
“Voters have to become more engaged and cognizant of what is happening in Congress," he said. "It’s our civic responsibility.”
Earl Wolfe believes his son would do a great job.
"I couldn't be more proud of him," he said.