Shade honored at his final county meeting

Dec. 2—CUMBERLAND, Md. — Allegany County Commissioner Jake Shade was honored Thursday by numerous area officials as he presided over his last meeting.

Shade, who was elected at age 21 in 2014, served two four-year terms on the board of commissioners, including the last seven years as commission president. He opted to run for state senate and lost to Del. Mike McKay in the November general election, ending his eight-year run as an elected official.

Numerous local officials were on hand for Shade's final meeting at the Allegany County Office Complex on Kelly Road.

Shade thanked each of the commissioners and the county staff, including administrative assistant Linda Simpson.

"All the stuff is a team sport," said Shade. "You don't get there on your own. We have a great staff at the county and it has been great to meet so many dedicated people. I will miss you all, and I thank you all."

Shade was presented with a citation from the Office of Gov. Larry Hogan by Mark Widmyer, the governor's Western Maryland field representative.

"On behalf of your eight years of dedicated service you made with the Allegany County Board of Commissioners and for your professionalism and expertise," Widmyer said, "we join the people of Maryland in extending our respect and admiration and sincere best wishes on this occasion ... signed, Gov. Lawrence J. Hogan Jr."

Shade, 29, said he has no future plans to run for office. "It's goodbye for now. I won't be on the front of a sign anytime soon," he said.

Shade listed some of the accomplishments he was proudest of. The list included leaving the county with a budget surplus, nurturing a successful medical cannabis industry, construction of a new $55 million Allegany High School on Haystack Mountain, and placement of mental health counselors in all middle and high schools.

During Shade's tenure, nearly 700 businesses received $3.6 million in COVID-19 relief money as well as $2 million in economic stimulus for businesses through the Invest Allegany Program.

Former Allegany County Sheriff Gary Simpson said, "I got to know Jake over the years. Some people, when they decide to come on the political scene, they don't bring all the tools necessary. Jake Shade doesn't fit into that group.

"He brought with him integrity, honesty and the ability to sit down and negotiate with people. He didn't wobble on the fence. He has a true and genuine desire to help Allegany County as a whole. One hundred years from now when they look back, they will feel the same thing as Gary Simpson did, that Jake Shade has been a true asset to Allegany County. I am very proud to be known as one of your friends and thank you for the eight years that you dedicated yourself to the people of Allegany County."

Cumberland Mayor Ray Morriss said, "I had the pleasure of working with Jake for the last four years. He brought a spirit of collaboration and working together to his work. What he has done for Cumberland and the municipalities in the Invest Allegany Program was a tremendous economic boon."

"In our county we talk an awful lot about the loss of young people," said Del. Jason Buckel. "People leave and go away to college and they never come back. That is a real thing that has had a big impact upon our county. It is one of the primary reasons we've had a hard time moving ahead.

"Jake Shade is a young man who made a decision because of his love for family and love for this area, when he was 17 or 18 years old, that he was going to try to make a difference, and he did."

Shade, who lives in Cumberland, told the Times-News he plans to continue working in the insurance industry in Allegany County.

Greg Larry is a reporter at the Cumberland Times-News. To reach him, call 304-639-4951, email and follow him on Twitter