In his campaign to represent the fourth district in Congress, Candidate Mike Wade visited the Ruritan Club in Surry for the Surry Fish Fry. The Fish Fry, which was held at the Ruritan Club’s new clubhouse on West Colonial Trail, consisted of fried fish, hush puppies and several different sides, which was served to anyone who came and paid for a food ticket. The event was the second event Wade had attended that day.
“I try to make it to as many events as I can throughout the district,” Wade said. “I like the small areas, people are friendlier and welcoming. I enjoy coming to places I’ve never been, there’s a lot to learn in this district.”
Wade is currently the sheriff in Henrico County and is a native of Richmond. He commands one of the largest sheriff’s offices in Virginia with over 380 sworn and civilian staff. He also has 33 part-time courthouse deputies, 76 part-time student deputies. He is the republican candidate in the district.
“I’ve always wanted to run for Congress,” Wade said. “Seeing the regulations and the problems that the government creates, I just want to take the opportunity to try be the person that goes up there with solutions and tries to solve some of the problems.”
Wade said that in his campaign, he has built a relationship with the community because of his role as sheriff. He believes that relationship is one of the things that gives him an advantage over his opponent, Democrat Candidate Donald McEachin.
“As sheriff I recognize that two of the biggest problems we have are substance abuse and mental illness,” Wade said. “I’ve been talking a lot about that. Mental illness goes over. A lot of the problems that we’re seeing in this country today, it’s not talked about. Things talked about like hate and race, I think a lot of them are related to mental illness.”
Other commonsense solutions Wade wants in addition to reforming the mental health system include cutting spending, reducing taxes, creating jobs, securing the boarder and fixing the immigration system.
“We don’t do enough to help people,” Wade said. “People end up in jail. Another problem I hear over and again is parents not being able to help their children get help. If you’re between the ages of 18 and 30 and the parents want to help you, once you turn 18, the HIPAA laws prevent them from being able to give you any help.”
Through his career, Wade has been a career law enforcement officer, with 41 years of service. He served for twenty-two years as a member of the Henrico Division of Police before being elected Sheriff. During his career as a police officer, Wade was an investigator focusing on crimes against property. He later served in the Criminal Intelligence Section and later as the Commonwealth’s Attorney’s Investigator Liaison. He was elected Sheriff in November of 1999.
“I really believe being sheriff prepares you more for making decision and understanding what’s going on and probably any other position that you can be in” Wade said. “I run a jail that has 1200 inmates on a daily basis and it’s like running a city. It’s a $38 million business. As a government employee I understand the problems that businesses have because of regulations and things like that which fall upon the jail.”
Wade believes that his experience as sheriff and his relationship with the citizens are what put him in favor to win. He also stated that another advantage he believes he has, because of the area, is that McEachin is against guns.
“We had a hard fought primary,” Campaign Manager Peter Foster said. “We’re just going out to as many events as we can get to.”
Foster said that the event they went to earlier on Saturday was a native American pow-wow. He also said that they had attended events including a yard sale in a large Richmond neighborhood as well as a festival in a park in Henrico.
“There are a lot of things going on,” Foster said. “It’s about getting out and meeting the people.”
Wade said that he always enjoyed coming to any event where there was food. He enjoyed having dinner at the fish fry along with everyone else that was served by the Ruritan Club staff. The event was the first fish fry held by the club, and it was a fundraiser in which the money raised would be given back to the community.
“We’ve had very good success with it tonight,” Surry Ruritan Club president Daniel Price said, “especially under the heat circumstances that we’re working under.”
Wade’s election against McEachin is set for November 8, and the Ruritan club’s next event is an auction which will be held in October.
“I’ve been helping people for all of my career,” Wade said. “I wouldn’t like to be the leadership in congress, but I would like to be a leader in some of the issues.”