ABOUT ASHLEY SHADE
Who is Ashley Shade?
Ashley Shade is a long-time resident of North Adams, having moved here with her family in 1991. After graduating from Charles H. McCann Technical High School, she began working and later studying at the Massachusetts College of Liberal Arts where her interest in politics and civics began. She has a Bachelor of Science in Business Administration. Her professional career has led her into a position where she is able to help people and continue to advocate.
She served as a Senior Service Support Consultant for Wayfair, where she also led an Employee Resource Group for LGBTQ+ employees and allies, and was appointed to the Corporate Impact Council where she was able to help drive positive culture change within the global organization. Ashley is actively involved in numerous organizations, serving to advocate for marginalized communities. She works in Customer Service and previously worked in healthcare at the hospital, pharmacy, and nursing home settings and understands the complex issues that confront the residents in and around North Adams.
As the Chairwoman of a national non-profit organization, Outright USA, and a former member of the National Transgender Visibility March policy team, Ashley continues to work and offer solutions to serve and represent LGBTQ+ community issues and provide a positive impact on people’s lives. Her election as chair of the Libertarian Party of Massachusetts set history, making Ashley the first transgender person in Massachusetts to be elected as the chair of a state political party. She is a staunch advocate for diversity and inclusiveness and uses her platform to increase education and awareness around the issues that face the LGBTQ+ community. Her former work on the Human Services Commission and with the Berkshire Stonewall Community Coalition and current work as Co-Chair of the Inclusivity, Diversity, Equity, and Access (I.D.E.A.) Commission has helped further the aim to build a strong, safe, and vibrant community in North Adams. Ashley was elected to her first term as a City Councilor in 2021 and took office in January 2022. In 2022 Ashley left the Libertarian Party and in 2023 she joined the Democratic Party and serves as the Political Director of the Democratic Freedom Caucus.
Being transgender has given her a unique perspective on what it feels like to be marginalized, a perspective that and the vital importance of helping people of all backgrounds and treating them with equal compassion.
Our Home - North Adams
Over the past 30 years, North Adams has gone through tremendous changes but has also faced extremely difficult struggles. It’s been more than 30 years now since Sprague Electric closed its doors, an impact we are still struggling to recover from.
Our city has done an excellent job in re-branding, and making North Adams into a tourist destination rich in Arts and Culture. However, we have neglected to focus on the most important piece of our city, the residents who live here. Our poverty rates are amongst the highest in the state, our hospital has been closed, and our residents face an opioid epidemic and high domestic violence rates, which is very much linked to our lack of quality jobs and lack of economic development, and lack of mental health resources.
North Adams has the potential to be the economic center of the Berkshires. We have plenty of space for businesses, we have low real estate prices, and we're located in a central location between Albany, New York City, and Boston, without all the crazy city traffic. We also have two tremendous resources that people overlook, the Massachusetts College of Liberal Arts, and our neighboring institution Williams College.
It's time for the City of North Adams and our representatives to focus on economic development and the recruitment of quality jobs and employers. We can be a hub for start-up technology, biotech companies, and other diverse entities looking for a new workforce who are prepared to take on new opportunities. It’s also time to have a deep conversation about the mental health issues, lack of access, and underlying causes that affect our community.
The city needs to renew its focus on investing in our most important resource... the people of North Adams. Elected officials are not supposed to control people, they are elected to represent people. They are not better, nor should have any more privileges than any other citizen. Their duty is not to a political party, but to represent their constituents. All of their constituents. When the system no longer focuses on the people, it no longer properly represents them. If I have the honor to be chosen to serve, my duty will be to the people of North Adams.
It is through Love, which is the brightest flame of Liberty and through Compassion, Education, and Love,
we can help our city, and the people of North Adams, grow and prosper together.
Ashley Shade is your incumbent candidate for North Adams City Council!