MARICOPA — Tuesday’s Maricopa City Council meeting celebrated the ending of Henry Wade Jr.’s term as the city’s vice mayor and a fresh beginning for newly elected Vice Mayor Nancy Smith.
Wade made his official nomination for Smith Tuesday night, and he was sure of his decision to elect her as his replacement. Now that she has taken on the role, Wade will return to his position as a city council member.
“She’s focused, she’s committed,” Wade said in an interview. “She’s dedicated to the different programs that she’s part of — Age Friendly, for instance. As I said (she’s) really, really smart, so I think I’d say, press forward with what she knows needs to be done.”
While reflecting on his time as vice mayor, Wade looked back most fondly on conversations he had with residents.
“When the light comes on and they understand that we do as much as we can to be responsible for the growth of the city, (that) we’ve tried to get other economic operators in, we try to get folks in who are going to create jobs,” Wade said. “When ... they say, ‘Oh, OK, I get it,’ then I feel satisfied. I feel like I’ve given them good information. They’re able to process it and see how it works. And maybe they’ll share that with somebody else who will share with somebody else and you have this snowball effect.”
But mostly, Wade said he preferred working in the background for his term instead of at the forefront. He made it clear that his love for Maricopa was and always has been the first priority of his work as vice mayor, and not the accolades or fame that come with the position.
“I don’t make a big deal about contributions that I do, or programs that I support, or nonprofits that I work with. I don’t make a big deal about it, I just do it. So a lot of folks don’t have a clue of the level of support that I give,” Wade said. “And I’m good with that, because I know I’m doing something for the love of the city and for the benefit of the community, not because I can get my name on something that says sponsored by or so I can try to fill a room.”
Wade also made sure to mention how thankful he was for the support of his wife, Gayle Randolph, as well as their extended family, who welcomed a brand new baby to the family last week.
“Whenever we are out doing things or going to an event, two things happen. People acknowledge ‘There’s Vice Mayor’ or however it was and the next thing out of their mouth is — you can see them looking past me, looking around — and (they say) ‘Where’s Gayle?’” Wade said, laughing. “They know how much she supports me and how much I support her and how much we love each other.”
Support for Wade was also shared by other council members, who expressed their appreciation for Wade’s time as vice mayor and the work he did for the community. Marvin Brown also added that he would like to hold a future discussion to make the position of vice mayor a two year role.
“I want to thank Henry for the hard work he’s done this past year,” said Councilman Vincent Manfredi. “All I get when I’m out talking to people is how great of a job he’s done as vice mayor. I mean with all sincerity — I haven’t heard one complaint — and that’s a good thing because usually somebody is going to complain about something.”
Smith expressed her thankfulness for Wade’s support in her election as vice mayor as well, and she looks forward to a big year ahead of her for 2020.
“Thank you all for that support, I appreciate that Vice Mayor Wade,” said Smith. “I do want to acknowledge the hard work you’ve done, and the big shoes to fill.”