Ashley Shade eyes economic development in bid for North Adams City Council seat

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NORTH ADAMS — Ashley Shade is running for the North Adams City Council with an eye on economic development.

The political newcomer acknowledges that the focus on tourism in the area over the last 20 years has been "needed."

"We also need that same focus and energy on recruiting business and jobs to the area," Shade said.

With assets like two local colleges and an affordable housing market, North Adams is poised to "become a local hub," Shade argues.

One of sixteen candidates running for nine available seats on the city council, Shade was raised in North Adams and graduated from McCann Tech. She then graduated from the Massachusetts College of Liberal Arts with a degree in business administration.

After a year living and working in the Boston area, she returned to North Adams in 2014 and now works in the business office at the Sweet Brook Rehabilitation and Nursing Center in Williamstown.

Shade made the decision to run for City Council this summer. As a former president of the political science club at MCLA, Shade had been an observer of local politics.

"I felt like now was just the time to just try to jump in and do something," Shade said.

Shade, who is openly transgender, got involved in local politics earlier this year as one of many people who advocated for the passage of the City Council's safe and inclusive resolution.

She said it was important to stand up and say "there's a lot more of us" than others may realize, especially in the age of bathroom bans and a renewed effort to ban transgender people from the military.

"I think it's really important, for people who don't understand, to confront them so they can be educated on it," Shade said.

As a city councilor, Shade said she is a proponent of limited taxes and limited government and would stress transparency and availability.

"Every single cent, people should know where it's going," Shade said.

The city also needs to be able to fund and maintain its infrastructure. It often doesn't address issues like potholes on side streets in "as timely a manner as possible," Shade argued.

"Those people pay their taxes, too. If you're paying your taxes, you deserve to have things fixed in a timely manner."

Shade believes the city needs to increase its budget for its police officers, citing the well-documented high turnover within the department.

Adam Shanks can be reached at

ashanks@berkshireeagle.com

@EagleAdamShanks on Twitter or at 413-496-6376


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