Democratic Candidate Scott Wallace on Climate Change, Gun Control and More


Keri Marable

The upcoming midterm elections on Nov. 6 will not only decide the Pennsylvanian congressional representatives but also whether Congress flips the switch from red to blue.
Democratic candidate Scott Wallace is determined to flip the switch.
Wallace is looking to represent the 1st District, which after court-ordered redistricting over the summer acquired more Democratic territory. The 1st District is notorious for being a swing district.
Wallace will be running against Republican incumbent Brian Fitzpatrick this November.
Wallace comes from a long family history in American politics. His great grandfather, Henry C. Wallace, served as the secretary of agriculture under both the Harding and Coolidge administrations. His grandfather, Henry A. Wallace, also served as secretary of agriculture and Vice President of the United States under the Franklin D. Roosevelt administration.
When talking about his family’s history in politics, Wallace said, “I’m inspired by how people felt about government in the 40’s and 30’s, that was a time when people knew that the government had their back and now we have a time of distrust of government and pessimism- about division, about the inability to get anything done.”
Wallace added, “I want to go to Washington to make Congress work for the people again and not just for the wealthy and the corporations. I want people to feel that government can be a force for good in their lives.”
When asked if his family legacy led him into politics, he said, “No, [but] I did know I wanted to make social change happen, I wanted to make a difference in people’s lives, not through politics, but I was happy to work for politicians and Senate committees. It never occurred to me to actually run myself until now. Things are different now.”
Critics of Wallace find the candidate’s absence from Bucks County as a detriment to his ability to represent the district. He believes it enhances it, saying, “I moved to Philadelphia to work in federal court for a judge from Bucks County. I went to Washington to work in the United States Congress. I worked 15 years for nonprofit organizations on problems of law, justice, civil and constitutional right. I moved to the [Wallace Global Fund] foundation working at a global level.”
He added, “So, I am very excited now to take what I’ve learned and bring that all back home. I’m offering that to the people of Bucks County.”
For the past 15 years, Wallace and his wife have helped run the Wallace Global Fund, an organization founded by his grandfather. Its mission statement, listed on the organization’s website is “to promote an informed and engaged citizenry, to fight injustice, and to protect the diversity of nature and the natural systems upon which all life depends.”
One of Wallace’s proudest achievements WGF achievements is the Divest Invest Movement which “worked to galvanize students to urge their universities to that the divest from fossil fuels and invest in clean energy solutions… The students got so engaged in fighting climate change and so energized because here was something they could do to personally make a difference… It had spread to pension funds, faith institutions, and ultimately entire nations. The nation of Norway divested its sovereign wealth fund and suddenly there’s a trillion dollars that is no longer invested in fossil fuels.”
Wallace takes pride in his environmental stances. His former opponent in the Democratic primary, Steve Bacher, wrote an opinion piece for The Intelligencer stating that Wallace is staying silent on important environmental issues, such as fracking.
Wallace rebutted by saying, “I’m very suspect of fracking. Our foundation [WGF] funded the Cornell University study that proved that fracking is actually more dangerous to global warming than fossil fuels, than coal, when you count the methane that is released during the mining and the transport of the fracking process. Methane is 27 times more potent as a greenhouse gas than CO2.”
Wallace added, “This is not about dogma, it’s about finding consensus, so we can help people. We have 70,000 people in Central Bucks who are exposed to toxins in their drinking water, we’ve got a big problem in Lower Bucks with the quality of air which leads to increased asthma in kids and lung disease and emphysema in adults.”
To solve climate change, Wallace believes, “If we gather the facts about whose being affected by what and how much and what it would cost to remediate it, we can come to a consensus on what to do about it.”
Wallace said climate change should be a priority for both parties. “Brian Fitzpatrick voted to cut a half a billion dollars in the EPA’s budget, he [Fitzpatrick] removed regulations, repealed regulations that protect clean air and clean water.”
Wallace continued, “We have to be responsible for these decisions. When your water is polluted, [it] doesn’t ask you if you’re Republican or Democrat. It doesn’t matter. We are all poisoned the same way and we’re all affected the same way and that’s where we can find a solution.”
In terms of how he differs from his opponent, Wallace said, “I don’t want to slash funding for the EPA, I don’t want to deregulate Wall Street, what my opponent votes for reflects what he stands for. I want to stand for the people, not big business.”
On the legalization of marijuana, Wallace believes that “The state of Pennsylvania must consider full legalization of marijuana. I suggest the best route is to study the experience of the states that have already tried it, Alaska, Colorado, and so on. Study the impact. There has been a great influx of tax revenue from legalizing, regulating, and taxing.”
Wallace added, “One of my first priorities would be to a proposed amending of the Federal Controlled Substances Act, where marijuana currently sits on schedule one, which is reserved for the most dangerous drugs with the highest potential for abuse and no conceivable medical use. I believe that marijuana should be moved to schedule five, which means it has the lowest potential for abuse and proven medical utility.”
Asked what he can do for college students, Wallace said, “I’m a firm believer in stronger funding for Vo-Tech schools and community colleges and that people should be able to graduate completely debt-free from any public university or college and certainly from Vo- Tech schools.”
Wallace also brought up the issue of gun control. “Young people are fed up with inaction on guns or the inability of the older generation to do anything at all about guns in the wake of the Newtown massacre. What did Congress do? They talked briefly and argued about universal background checks and they couldn’t even agree on that.”
One of the actions Wallace wants to take if elected includes acting “on guns, on assault weapons, on high-capacity magazines; we need biometric trigger locks so that a gun can only be fired by the owner or authorized user.”
On a final note, Wallace explained what he believes is wrong with our current congress and presidential administration.
“My dad told me to build a fence between our house and the road and I built the most beautiful fence he’d ever seen, it took me about six weeks to build it and it stood there for 50 years until a few weeks ago a drunk driver plowed through it,”
Wallace added, “It took me about another 5 minutes to tear down what was remaining with a chainsaw. It’s a lot easier to tear down than it is to build up and that’s what Trump is doing now… I would like to get back to building up. It’s harder, it takes more time, it takes more studies, it takes more facts and truth, but that’s what that’s how we solve problems. Tearing down doesn’t solve anything.”