Decades of Public Service Experience
Of course, he did not know it then, but Wade’s commitment to public service began when he was barely 6 weeks old when his parents, a self-employed barber and a travel agent, adopted him from Catholic Charities. They were the first two in a very long line of people who have taught Wade the importance of serving others. Those lessons continued with the remarkable elementary and high school teachers and coaches, who year after year inspired him (and the other students and athletes) to be the very best he could be. They were all amazing examples of what it means to think about others and give back. Several college professors as well as his UMD track coach continued those lessons, and so did the first few professionals he encountered in the ‘real world’ after graduation. Wade feels he owes these people more than he could ever express, but the best way to show his appreciation is to live by the lessons they taught and exemplified: think of others, give back, and work hard.
Those three things are the major reasons he has been a felony prosecutor for over 23 years, 19 of which has been in Anoka County. Having handled nearly 4,000 serious felonies over his time in Anoka County, Wade has had the humbling privilege of helping others through some of the most difficult times in their lives: the murder of a loved one, the taking of the innocence of a child, the loss of feeling safe in one's own home, the list goes on and on. He feels tremendous pride in knowing that he works in a job where the central question, the essential mandate is “what is the right thing to do?” He has strived to do that every day, on every case, and always endeavosr to be a hardworking and fair prosecutor for Anoka County..
Wade knows what hard work is. He was raised in a blue-collar family. He watched in awe as his father stood on his feet cutting hair ten hours a day for 43 years, yet always loved his job. His mother was his first and best example of customer service; no matter what an angry traveler threw at her, she always remained calm and respectful while working hard to help her client. His parents helped when they could, but could not make enough money to send Wade to college or law school themselves. In spite of the time commitment which being a Division II varsity student-athlete commanded, there was not a single period in college, and subsequently law school, that Wade didn’t have a job. Several summers Wade went out to the Western U.S. and fought forest fires to help pay the rent and buy food for the coming academic year. He would apply this work ethic as Anoka County Attorney as well, because he doesn't know any other way.
For the past two years, Wade has been the Criminal Division Chief in the Anoka County Attorney’s Office, which means he is responsible for the day-to-day management of one of the five largest felony prosecution agencies in the State of Minnesota. Wade supervises the prosecution of 2700+ felonies per year and the 16 attorneys that handle them alongside him. One of his most important roles is to provide guidance and mentorship to newer attorneys, and one of his greatest rewards is watching them grow and thrive. The four+ years prior to being the Division Chief, Wade was the Criminal Division Operations Manager. Wade has been managing and supervising attorneys for nearly seven years, which is vitally important as the Anoka County Attorney’s Office is the largest law office in Anoka County.
However, being a lawyer does not define who Wade is. He is a lifelong Minnesotan who loves to hunt, fish, camp, and wakeboard, just to name a few. He can operate just about every type of power tool there is and can fix almost anything: carpentry, plumbing, electrical, automotive, etc. As County Attorney you must have multiple forms of literacy, in other words, have the ability to communicate with everyone.
Maintaining multiple forms of literacy requires getting out in the community, knowing what makes it tick, and striving to make it a better place to live. Coaching is a perfect example. There are many parallels between coaching and serving as County Attorney: relating to all walks of life, having a consistently kind and positive demeanor yet being able to enforce rules and discipline, encouragement alongside honest feedback and correction, the list could go on and on. Wade has coached track and field at the third largest high school in Minnesota, as well as one of the very smallest. He has also been a volunteer youth coach for seventeen different seasons in four different sports: softball, baseball, wrestling, and football. Wade has also served on several governing boards for those youth sports. Finally, Wade is a member of the Centerville Elementary PTSA.
But in the end, his most important passion is being the very best husband and father he can be to his wife Shawna and their daughters, six-year-old Gianna, and four-year-old Mila. Public service runs in the family, as Shawna has been working on behalf of crime victims for over eighteen years. Shawna first worked as an advocate at a domestic violence shelter in Two Harbors, MN, then Alexandra House in Anoka, finally as a victim-witness specialist in the Anoka and Washington County Attorney’s Offices.
Wade will be an outstanding Anoka County Attorney because he knows the people of Anoka County, has developed relationships with many partners in Anoka County, knows the issues, knows how to listen, and knows how to work hard. He knows that being Anoka County Attorney means continuing in a career path where the central, daily, never-ending question is “what is the right thing to do?” Most importantly, Wade would continue to serve the citizens of Anoka County as he has for the past two decades and pay forward all the guidance and opportunities he has been blessed with.