By James Boyle on Courier Times
The grandson of one of FDR’s vice presidents is entering the 8th congressional district primary for the Democratic nomination.
One of the worst-kept secrets of the last few weeks in Bucks County politics is now public. Scott Wallace has officially launched his campaign for the Democratic Party’s nomination in the 8th congressional district race, putting an end to rumors circulating since December.
“This is an extraordinary time in history,” said Wallace on Wednesday. “This country has never faced the enormous challenges, from both external factors and within our own government. Our democracy is so ill-governed and on a dangerous precipice.”
Wallace is stepping away as co-chair of the Wallace Global Fund, a Washington, D.C.-based organization he joined 15 years ago to support challenges against corporate-controlled states, threats to democracy and climate change. His work has taken him around the world to support struggling democracies in places like South Africa and Zimbabwe, yet he said Wednesday that he can make more significant progress as a member of Congress.
“The foundation is doing fantastic work,” Wallace said. “We have it set on a good direction, and I can continue to do that kind of work in Congress. Instead of researching and studying problems and advising solutions, I will have the opportunity to write the solutions and work across the aisle to get them done.”
Bipartisanship has been missing from Congress for the past year, Wallace said. In the ’80s, he worked in the U.S. Senate’s Judiciary Committee and as legal counsel for the Veterans Affairs Committee, where he saw legislation debated for weeks and months before both sides compromised. It’s a far cry from the current climate in Washington, where bills like the Tax Cuts and Jobs Act are introduced and passed with no committee hearings and lawmakers are constantly on the attack, Wallace said.
Wallace also said incumbent Rep. Brian Fitzpatrick’s claims of working for bipartisan solutions with moderate lawmakers from both parties are just words. His voting record of supporting Paul Ryan for Speaker of the House and voting in line with Trump’s preferences more than 80 percent of the time, according to fivethirtyeight.com, suggests differently, Wallace said.
“The record of Donald Trump and Brian Fitzpatrick is a record of unfulfilled promises,” said Wallace. “They talk about increasing the paychecks of hard-working Americans, but their agenda is for the top 1 percent. People in the 8th district don’t want their hopes betrayed. There’s a lot of anger about promises not kept.”
Fitzpatrick has not officially launched his re-election campaign, but a spokesperson welcomed Wallace to the race by suggesting he had just moved into the area.
“We welcome him to Pennsylvania and wish him well settling into his residence,” said Mike Barley.
Wallace grew up on Mill Road in Buckingham and has owned his family’s home since 2004, according to public records. He said Wednesday afternoon that his work has been on a global scale, but he always returned to his home in Bucks County.
“I live in the very same house where I was born and raised and I’m proud of it,” said Wallace. “My children’s height marks are notched on the wall right next to the ones for myself and my siblings.”
Born Henry Scott Wallace, he is the grandson of Henry A. Wallace, the U.S. Secretary of Agriculture from 1933 to 1940 and President Franklin D. Roosevelt’s vice president from 1941 to 1945. He is a Haverford College undergrad with a law degree from Villanova University. In a blog post written in 2016 for an organization called Patriotic Millionaires, Wallace writes that he and his wife, Christy, who worked for the U.S. diplomatic corps, have supported organizations and movements that demand government to be transparent and accountable to ordinary people, not to corporations and the wealthy.
Wallace is the third Democrat to announce a run for the 8th congressional seat, joining Navy veteran Rachel Reddick and activist Steve Bacher in the primary. In a statement sent Wednesday afternoon, Bacher said he is looking forward to a robust campaign with “many debates and other public forums” to give Democratic voters a full opportunity to pick the best candidate. Reddick also welcomed Wallace’s entry and said she is focused on working on changing the leadership in Congress.
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