Candidate Survey: Jake Shade for Allegany County Commissioner
Office Sought and District
Allegany County Commissioner
B.A. University of Maryland-College Park. Master’s University of Maryland- College Park
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Legislative Director, Maryland General Assembly (2013-2014), Member of Allegany County Republican Central Committee (2013-2014), Allegany County Commissioner (2014-Present, President of Board Jan. 1, 2016-Present)
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Why are you running for office?
I want to continue pushing economic development in Allegany County. Since I was first elected we have a new Director of Economic Development, a new Director of Tourism, and new County Administrator. All of these individuals understand that growth, development, and being business friendly are top priorities and will no longer be ignored. In addition, I’m committed to keeping spending increases to a minimum, over my term in office we have kept spending increases near 2% annually which is extremely rare for any level of government.
Who do you consider your political role model, and why?
Historically: Calvin Coolidge and Winston Churchill. Coolidge’s budgeting and how he viewed the office of president should be emulated and Churchill by showing that individual leaders can change the course of history. In the modern-era in would be people like John Boehner and Paul Ryan. Ryan as someone who puts forth detailed policy proposals and Boehner as someone who is committed to keeping the government functioning- even that means compromising.
What is your favorite book about politics and policy, and why?
Economic Facts and Fallacies by Thomas Sowell and The Rational Optimist are two of my favorites that cut against traditional wisdom. Each is extremely detailed and well-researched. Niall Ferguson’s books on America are also some of my favorites.
What will be your top priority in elected to this position?
The 8 things I would like to accomplish in a second term are below, more information can be found at http://www.jakeshade.com/8-for-2018/
1. Hire an outside firm to create a comprehensive economic development plan
2. Partner for joint economic development projects with Cumberland and Frostburg
3. Restructure Economic Development Department to include Internal & External Directors positions
4. Emphasize large scale tourism events
5. Ensure that the county has a balanced and responsible budget without increasing taxes
6. Hire 4 new law enforcement positions (2 – C3I Unit, 1 – road patrol, 1 – correctional officer)
7. Review county maintained and O.P. roads; increase O.P. road fund from $25,000 to $50,000 per year
8. Re-open bridges on Washington Street and Cumberland Street, and repair Baltimore Street bridge
What is the biggest issue facing your county?
Population growth, brain drain, and prioritizing economic development.
What is your position on taxes and spending?
We pay enough taxes, I will oppose any tax increases. We have kept spending under inflation levels while still being able to pay 2% COLA’s, expand the homestead property tax credit, put Sheriff’s deputies in the LEOPS retirement system, construct a new Allegany High School, and much more.
What is your position on a county tax cap?
We expanded the Homestead Property Tax Credit, so we now have the 5th most generous in the state. It now takes effect when assessments increase by 4% or more instead of 7%.
What is your position on land use issues?
I’m in favor of growth and development.
What is your position on public safety?
Our police officers can’t be thanked enough for their dedication and effectiveness in an increasingly dangerous profession. A problem we struggle with locally is paying a competitive salary to officers, all of whom could go in a metro area and make far more money. Every one of our officers are here because they want to be here and have a vested interest in making sure our community is a safe place to live.
There was one way we could improve our competitiveness and show a commitment to law enforcement. Allegany County Sheriff’s Department was the only police department locally and one of the few in the state that was not in the Law Enforcement Officers’ Pension System (LEOPS). Instead officers were in the same retirement system as regular employees, despite the obviously job differences. By switching to LEOPS police officers are eligible to retire after 25 years instead of 30, which is standard for nearly all law enforcement entities. The county had to increase our funding used to pay for police pensions but I believe this is well worth it and necessary. The other added benefit is with a shorter career we have less officers working late into their 50’s, which has equated to less police being injured on the job.
I believe we need to hire more police officers in order to combat crime and do the time consuming investigatory work. A reasonable approach would be to hire 2 additional officers* to be attached to the highly successful C3I Unit, which deals with the most serious crimes committed locally; another officer for road patrol deputy to assist in responding to the increase in calls for service; and an extra correctional officer at the detention center to assist with the intake of inmates. In total this would be hiring four new law enforcement positions* that would have immediate impact on crime in Allegany County.