On Wednesday, Henrico County Sheriff Mike Wade announced that after nearly 20 years, he will not seek re-election. The 62-year-old Wade says it wasn’t a snap decision, but rather one he’s been mulling over for some time. Last October, during a routine physical, cancer was found in a kidney. The disease was successfully removed in December, but Wade told RTD reporter Sean Gorman, “It makes you think about the future when something like that happens.”
We certainly understand his thinking but we sure hate to see him go. Wade is a hometown hero. A Richmond native, he graduated from Benedictine High School in 1974. He joined the Henrico County Police Division in 1977, serving 22 years before being elected sheriff in 1999. He attended VCU, earning a bachelor’s degree in administration justice in 1986 and a master’s degree in rehab counseling, alcohol and drug education rehabilitation in 1990.
During his tenure as sheriff, Wade has had a tremendous impact in the community. He made the sheriff’s office more open and responsive to county residents. He has worked diligently to improve the lives of more than 15,000 county inmates, creating two nationally recognized drug rehabilitation programs — RISE and ORBIT — that have helped thousands overcome addiction and develop life and workplace skills.
Wade told the RTD that he hasn’t decided on a firm retirement date yet, but says once he leaves office, he hopes to continue contributing to the substance abuse recovery field. He also wants to spend more time with his grandkids. One thing he does not want to do is run for office. In 2016, the Republican sheriff unsuccessfully ran for the open congressional seat in Virginia’s 4th District. “It’s too nasty,” Wade said of politics.
Henrico County Manager John Vithoulkas says Wade has “done an incredible job for the county.” We add our ringing endorsement to that and wish Sheriff Wade the very best in his retirement.