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Pennsylvania farmer joins race for Congress

Democrat Dennis Wolff of Millville, Pa., holds a calf inside his dairy barn
STILL GOT MUSCLE: Denny Wolff hopes to use his strong rural community connections to win a seat in the U.S. House of Representatives.
“Send a farmer to change Washington” is Denny Wolff’s campaign slogan.

Who says a farmer can’t be in Congress? Certainly not U.S. Sen. Joni Ernst of Iowa, whose rural values carried her into the Senate. And certainly not the hopeful Democrat Denny Wolff of Millville, Pa.

Wolff, a 1994 Pennsylvania Master Farmer and former state secretary of agriculture, recently tossed his farm cap into an already crowded field of candidates seeking U.S. Rep. Lou Barletta’s seat for central Pennsylvania’s 11th congressional district.

The 11th district includes Columbia, Montour and Wyoming counties, plus parts of Carbon, Cumberland, Dauphin, Luzerne, Northumberland and Perry.

At last count, five other candidates seek the office being vacated by Barletta, who is running for the U.S. Senate: Democrat Robert Howe and Republicans Andrew Lewis, Dan Meuser, Andrew Shecktor and state Rep. Stephen Bloom.

‘Change Washington’ theme
Wolff’s campaign theme is: “Send a farmer to change Washington.” Being a fifth-generation Columbia County dairy farmer, he has fixed a lot of things. He built Pen-Col Farms, a 400-acre farm with about 200 registered Holstein cattle, into an internationally known dairy cattle company. Wolff has a strong reputation of public service and concern for child health care.

Wolff founded Camp Victory, a camp designed for children with special health needs and their families. His global vision for a small-town business led to an appointment to the World Trade Organization’s Agriculture Technical Committee during the Clinton administration. He was later be reappointed during the Bush administration, before being appointed Pennsylvania ag secretary.

Wolff believes he can win the Republican-trending district, even though the 11th district went 60% for President Donald Trump last year. He knows the issues and challenges of rural Pennsylvania. “I have a lot of faith that [the people] will vote for the person, not necessarily the party.”

“I never thought I'd run for office,” he adds. “But we’re never going to change Washington if we keep sending the same kind of people to represent us.

“Congress could use a lot more teachers and nurses — and farmers. I'll never forget where I came from, and the values I grew up with in my small town.  In Congress, I’ll put the work ethic I learned on the farm to work for our area.”

Learn more about his public policy viewpoints at

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