Sen. Dan Wolf talks small business challenges, entrepreneurship during gubernatorial hopeful's stop in Fall River
Dave Souza|Herald News
Dan Wolf, considering a run for governor, speaks with local businessmen Luis Pacheco and Joe Pacheco during a lunch meeting on Monday.
State Sen. Dan Wolf, who has declared his intent to run for governor next year, hosted a roundtable discussion with some local business owners on Monday, with conversation spanning from challenges of small business owners, to the economy and the government’s role in entrepreneurship.
Participating in the discussion with Wolf at the Caldeiras Restaurant were Alda Moniz of Affordable Real Estate LLC, Luis Pacheco of Accounting Portfolio, Joe Pacheco of Pacheco Insurance and Real Estate, Alexander Gorodetsky of Gorodetsky Engineering and Frank Baptista, host of “Radio Voz Do Emigrante.”
Wolf, founder of Cape Air, started his airline as a pilot and mechanic with six employees who flew from Cape Cod to the islands. The company has grown to 1,000 employees and flying to expanded hubs from locations in the Midwest to the Carribbean.
Wolf asked Moniz, whose family business opened in 1985, how the real estate market in Fall River was faring.
“It was great before 2006,” Moniz said. “This is my third down market and it’s the worst.”
At one time, the business had up to 13 self-employed real estate agents, but with the downturn, Moniz said she is down to six employees. The number of closings from 2006 is down 60 percent, Moniz said.
“But it’s coming back, though, I’m seeing a change,” Moniz said. “In this market you have to be very creative.”
Gorodetsky said that government regulations hurt smaller businesses and give large companies an edge.
“One of the things our government allows to happen is to give total advantage to big corporations and businesses,” Wolf said. “They create hurdles that big companies can get over and small companies can’t.”
Wolf, who is chairman of the Joint Committee on Labor and Workforce Development, said he remembered when he started his airline he struggled to provide health care for the small staff.
Baptista asked Wolf about a recent opinion from the state ethics commission that his position as CEO of Cape Air creates a conflict of interest because his planes fly in and out of Logan Airport with agreements with Massport. The commission ruled that the only way the conflict could be corrected is either his airline no longer serve Logan Airport or Wolf sell off his 20 percent share of the employee-owned company.
The airline pays the commonwealth for landing fees and counter space, so it’s been a frustrating couple of weeks, Wolf said.
“It’s hard because it’s one of these things that, I think we would all agree, we want successful entrepreneurs and business people in government, yet what I’m facing is somebody who has been successful actually been kept out of government,” Wolf said.