1978 College graduate Matthew Wolfe is running for Philadelphia’s City Council at Large. As a Republican, he will be vying to be one of the two at-large members from the city's minority political party.
Wolfe currently serves as the Republican Ward Leader in the 27th Ward, which includes Penn’s campus and stretches from 44th and Locust streets to the Schuylkill River. Wolfe is running in the Republican primary, which will be held May 21.
Wolfe said his political career started at Penn, where he majored in English and Political Science. On campus, Wolfe was also vice chair of College Republicans and played on the sprint football team.
If elected, Wolfe said he aims to improve Philadelphia’s economic plight. He pointed out the paradox between the widespread poverty and the prominent universities and hospitals situated in the same city.
“How do we get to be the poorest big city in America?” Wolfe said. “It’s because of decisions made in City Hall.”
Wolfe has spoken out against the beverage tax and hopes to decrease taxes across the board, calling the current system outdated and “perfect for mid-19th century Philadelphia.”
The Penn graduate also said he wants to roll back what he calls unnecessary business regulations which he believes drive jobs away from the city.
Beyond Penn, Wolfe credits his experiences as a local activist in West Philadelphia and an established lawyer as qualifications for his candidacy. As a native from the Philadelphia suburbs, he has served on the Spruce Hill Community Association and on a district neighborhood advisory committee. Wolfe also served as a Deputy Attorney General for Pennsylvania in the 1980s.
If elected, Wolfe is hoping to change the status quo of “council members who go along to get along.”
These council members, Wolfe said, are too concerned with getting re-elected, citing the disproportionate incumbent advantage as a problem with elections in general.
Wolfe proposed term limits as a solution to this issue, as the Philadelphia City Council currently allows members to run for office an unlimited number of times. He also said he would impose a term limit on himself if elected and would not run for office again after serving his four-year term.
Although Wolfe is running in an off-year election and recognizes that most students are not from Philadelphia, he still encourages eligible students to vote in May.
"Philadelphia is a great city — our best years are ahead of us," Wolfe said.
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