Governor Tom Wolf

Whether as a business owner or governor, Tom Wolf is a leader consistently taking on the status quo and trying to help middle class families. Tom is a different kind of leader, and he has been a different kind of governor.

Before he was governor, Tom was the owner of the Wolf Organization, a distributor of lumber and other building products. Tom bought this family business and grew the company  — eventually more than quintupling the business in size. He did this with smart leadership and by treating his employees fairly, even sharing the company’s profits with workers.

Since he took office in 2015, Tom has fought to change Harrisburg. On day one, his first actions as governor were signing a gift ban prohibiting administration employees from accepting gifts from lobbyists and reforming legal contracting to end pay to play. Tom also donates his entire salary to charity and refuses a state pension.

When Tom took office, he inherited an education system that had been cut by one billion dollars that led to teacher layoffs, cuts to programs like pre-k and tutoring, and larger class sizes. Tom made our children and our future his top priority. He has invested 1.8 billion dollars in education, leading to improved graduation rates and more children in pre-k.

By expanding Medicaid, Tom provided quality, affordable health care to 720,000 Pennsylvanians. He has also given more than 50,000 seniors the opportunity to age in their homes and made Pennsylvania a national leader in fighting the opioid and heroin epidemic by expanding treatment options and ensuring law enforcement and first responders have the resources they need.

Tom is working to grow our economy by making it easier for small businesses to start and expanding career and technical education opportunities. He is fighting to make sure wages keep up with the cost of living, focusing on skills training for kids who do not go to college, helping small businesses, and rebuilding Pennsylvania’s infrastructure.

Tom grew up in a small south central Pennsylvania town in York County and still lives in the house he was brought home to from the hospital.

Tom left York County to attend college at Dartmouth, but he interrupted his studies to join the Peace Corps and served two years in a small village in India before returning to finish his undergraduate degree. He later earned graduate degrees from the University of London and the Massachusetts Institute of Technology.

While finishing his PhD, Tom worked as a forklift operator and warehouse worker in the family business, the Wolf Organization, a distributor of lumber and other building products based in York, Pennsylvania. After graduating, his first full-time job was running a Tru-Value hardware store in Manchester, Pennsylvania. He later went on to buy his family business.

Tom’s leadership philosophy is an extension of his lifelong investment in community development. In addition to serving on and leading the boards of numerous organizations dedicated to education, health, welfare, economic development, culture, and the arts, Tom has rolled up his sleeves to help build a Little League baseball field in his community, volunteered in soup kitchens, and painted a local school. Tom and Frances, his wife of over 40 years, still live in York County and have two grown daughters, Sarah and Katie.

In 1985, Tom and his cousins took a risk by securing a loan to buy the family business. Over the course of 25 years, they grew the Wolf Organization into a successful business — eventually more than quintupling the business in size.

In 2006, Tom sold the business and took the job of secretary of revenue in Governor Ed Rendell’s cabinet, where he instituted reforms that grew and strengthened the state lottery and laid the foundation for millions of dollars in additional benefits for Pennsylvania seniors.

In early 2009, in the depths of the recession, Tom returned to the Wolf Organization — the family company he had spent more than two decades building and growing — when it was on the brink of bankruptcy. Tom immediately ended his 2010 gubernatorial campaign, bought back the business, and got to work reinventing the company.

Through innovation and smart investments, Tom was able to turn the company around. He changed the Wolf Organization’s business model, transforming it from solely a supplier of other businesses’ products into a company that sources its own American-made cabinets and competes directly with overseas manufacturers. Tom also made stronger investments in his employees because he knew that it was their work that truly made the Wolf Organization successful. So at a time when many businesses were cutting benefits, Tom continued to provide his employees comprehensive health and retirement benefits and continued returning 20 to 30 percent of the company’s profits back to workers.

On January 20, 2015, Tom was sworn in as Pennsylvania’s 47th governor. Since taking office, Tom has taken a number of steps to make Pennsylvania a better place and is fighting for Pennsylvanians in Harrisburg every day.

Jobs That Pay

Tom is working to grow our economy by making it easier for small businesses to start and expanding career and technical education opportunities. He is fighting to make sure wages keep up with the cost of living, focusing on skills training for kids who do not go to college, helping small businesses, and rebuilding Pennsylvania’s infrastructure.

Tom’s economic development team has completed relocation and expansion projects throughout Pennsylvania, including a major UPS expansion across Pennsylvania, the FNB Financial Center  in Pittsburgh, a brownfield site redevelopment by CANPACK Group in Lackawanna County, and the Express Med Pharmaceuticals expansion in Monaca.

To help grow manufacturing in Pennsylvania, Tom created a tax credit for manufacturers who create jobs in Pennsylvania. Tom has also eliminated the outdated and unfair Capital Stock and Franchise Tax, expanded LGBTQ nondiscrimination protections for state employees, raised the minimum wage to 12 dollars per hour for all state employees and contractors, and reformed occupational licensure to help workers, cut red tape, and strengthen the workforce.

Tom invested in PA farmers and agriculture by signing the PA Farm Bill, first-of-its-kind legislation that will build long-term prosperity for Pennsylvania agriculture.

Tom has also invested heavily in Pennsylvania’s recovery from the COVID-19 pandemic. He distributed $192 million in grants to more than 10,000 small businesses, directed $145 million to the hospitality industry, and has invested billions of dollars in American Rescue Plan funding to stabilize the child care industry, help Pennsylvanians struggling with rent and mortgage payments stay in their homes, and more.

Schools That Teach

When Tom took office, he inherited an education system that had been cut by one billion dollars that led to teacher layoffs, cuts to programs like pre-k and tutoring, and larger class sizes.

Rather than make Pennsylvania’s children the first casualty of the budget process, Tom made our children and our future his top priority. He has invested 1.8 billion dollars in education, including a historic 416 million dollar increase for education funding in 2021. Tom has now fully restored the cuts made in the previous administration and gone beyond restoration to make new, necessary investments in our students, our schools, and our teachers. That investment has led leading to improved graduation rates and more children in pre-k.

Tom’s investments in education also mean more students have access to art, music and advanced placement programs, which had been disappearing from our schools in the previous administration.

As a former business owner, Tom knows we need a strong workforce. New businesses will only come to states that invest in education. That is why Tom is also expanding apprenticeships and instituting policies to bring more computer science courses to public schools.

Tom implemented the fair funding formula to help address chronic inequitable and inadequate funding for school districts in the commonwealth, and continues to advocate for all public education funding for Pennsylvania schools to go through the fair funding formula to deliver high-quality education to every student across the state, regardless of zip code. We must make investments to adequately and fairly fund our education system in order to lay the foundation for long-term economic growth in Pennsylvania.

Government That Works

Tom is fighting to change Harrisburg. On day one, his first actions as governor were signing a gift ban prohibiting administration employees from accepting gifts from lobbyists and reforming legal contracting to end pay to play. He donates his entire salary to charity and refuses a state pension.

Tom eliminated two billion dollars of government waste and redundancy from the state budget by reducing bureaucracy and consolidating state agencies so that he could protect his investments in education and protecting our seniors. And he has improved customer service and efficiency by creating an office dedicated to holding state government accountable and demanding change.

Tom has placed restrictions on lobbyists, implemented fair contracting practices and improved diversity in contracting for the executive branch, signed bipartisan pension reforms into law, and reformed the liquor system to expand beer and wine sales outside of state stores and improve customer service at state stores.

Most of all, Tom knows that government should work for the people, and that Pennsylvanians have a right to free and fair elections. In 2018, Tom signed into law a historic election reform bill that made the most significant improvements to Pennsylvania’s elections in more than 80 years. Tom will always stand up for good government, and he will protect Pennsylvanians’ right to vote and freedom to participate in our democracy.

Improving Health Care

As governor, Tom took immediate actions to provide health insurance to more than 720,000 Pennsylvanians by expanding Medicaid and has reduced the commonwealth’s uninsured rate to the lowest it has ever been.  He has also given more than 50,000 seniors the opportunity to age in their homes.

Tom has also made fighting the opioid crisis a top priority of his administration and is continuing to work with medical professionals and law enforcement to address this public health crisis.  By providing funding to implement treatment centers throughout the commonwealth, Tom’s administration has expanded access to treatment for thousands of Pennsylvanians with substance use disorder. Under his leadership, Pennsylvania launched a prescription drug monitoring program  and new prescribing guidelines for the safe and effective use of opioids.

Tom is reforming health care in Pennsylvania to make sure Pennsylvanians have access to the health care they need. Under Tom’s leadership, Pennsylvania legalized medical marijuana, which now provides help to more than a half a million Pennsylvanians with serious medical conditions. Tom also strengthened mental health parity laws, requiring insurers to provide mental health coverage that is comparable to physical health services.

Tom is committed to making health care coverage accessible and affordable for Pennsylvanians. Tom’s administration launched Pennie, Pennsylvania’s health care marketplace, in January 2021 to help Pennsylvanians get health care coverage at lower costs. Pennie’s world-class customer service team helps Pennsylvanians find coverage and financial assistance opportunities to meet their needs.

Reforming  Criminal Justice

Pennsylvania needs a criminal justice system that is fair and keeps communities safe. Tom is fighting for a justice system that provides true justice for Pennsylvanians.

Tom signed a first-of-its-kind Clean Slate Law to automatically seal certain types of criminal records and help reduce stigma against Pennsylvanians who have interacted with the criminal justice system. Pennsylvania is leading the way in second chances, and our Clean Slate law serves as a national model for commonsense, bipartisan criminal justice reform.

Tom also signed into law two Justice Reinvestment Initiative bills to reduce bureaucracy and red tape while reducing recidivism, increasing public safety, and better serving victims of crime.
Tom has also fought to protect victims of abuse from harm by preventing domestic abusers from possessing guns.

Tom is working with local and state leaders to fix systemic issues with policing in Pennsylvania and make our communities safer. He signed an executive order in 2020 to make meaningful reforms including the creation of the Law Enforcement Citizen Advisory Commission within the Office of State Inspector General. Tom also signed legislation that requires background checks for law enforcement applicants and mental health evaluations for officers.

Protecting the Environment

Pennsylvania is already experiencing the harmful effects of climate change. Tom is fighting back to keep communities safe and protect the future of our commonwealth.

Tom set Pennsylvania’s first statewide climate goals, aiming to reduce greenhouse gas emissions by 26 percent by 2025 and by 80 percent by 2050, compared to 2005 levels. He took action to participate in the Regional Greenhouse Gas Initiative to combat climate change while generating economic growth.

Pennsylvania has been a national energy leader for more than one hundred years. As we continue to diversify our grid with clean renewable sources of energy, Tom wants to maintain Pennsylvania’s leadership position and bring the economic, health, and environmental benefits of renewable energy to Pennsylvania. To help Pennsylvania lead the way into a green energy future, Tom made the largest government solar energy commitment in the United States.