PITTSBURGH (KDKA) — Democrat Tom Wolf toured the makeover of the old Connelly Trade School on Thursday afternoon, a conventional campaign event for someone who, admittedly, doesn’t come across as very political.
“I’m getting into politics very late in life, so that’s unusual by today’s standards, but I think that’s the way democracy is supposed to work,” Wolf told KDKA political editor Jon Delano in a sit-down interview.
Soft-spoken, deferential and laid back, the 65-year-old Democrat is different.
Delano: “Does that suggest a weakness?”
Wolf: “I have built a business twice.”
Wolf says his style should not be mistaken by anyone.
“I am a tough person. Now, my mother didn’t raise someone to be impolite. I say thank you and I smile, but I’m tough,” said Wolf. “I think sometimes we conflate nastiness with toughness, and I don’t.
“I am who I am, and I’m comfortable in my skin,” the Democrat opined.
His Republican opponents like to call him a millionaire.
Delano: “When they call you a millionaire, does that bother you?”
Wolf: “No, that’s what I am.”
“It’s sort of ironic that that would come out of the Republican side,” adds Wolf. “I actually earned my money the right way. I built a business and, as my ads said, shared 20 to 30 percent of my profits with my employees.”
And he doesn’t look like most candidates.
Wolf would also be the first governor since Gov. Samuel Pennypacker, elected in 1902, to have a full beard.
Wolf: “I’d be the first governor in a hundred years to have a beard.”
Delano: “What does that mean?”
Wolf: “Well, I think it means a couple of… well, first of all, when I started this, a couple said, you can’t run for governor, you have a beard. What does that mean? So my compromise was I trimmed it.”
Delano: “It wasn’t Duck Dynasty?”
Wolf: “No, no, but it was a little bigger. I think beards are coming back. I see a lot more people with beards. You ought to get one.”