Local attorney to run for Commission
Shepherdstown attorney Ruth McQuade announced she has officially filed papers to run for the Jefferson County Commission seat currently held by Jim Surkamp.
McQuade, 59, said she filed for the Shepherdstown District seat on Nov. 9.
McQuade said she is running “chiefly to bring more professionalism to the County Commission, and to the management of county government generally.”
“Sadly,” she said, “the County Commission all too often appears to be at war with other county elected officials, with itself, and even its own employees.”
“This not only results in inefficiency, it often means increased costs to taxpayers from lawsuits, procedural delays and duplications of effort.”
McQuade said she is also concerned about the way the County Commission has handled the County’s budget.
“With over $20 million dollars to manage and revenues dwindling because of the current economy, it’s important that the county finances be managed in a more responsible and efficient manner,” she said. “It’s troubling that, year after year, the Commission seems to ‘discover’ a surplus well after the budget has supposedly been locked in.”
“As an attorney, and as an individual who has been involved in various aspects of government, I believe that I can bring a reasoned, practical, and non-emotional approach to county management,” McQuade said.
“The Commission has a lot of work to do in the near future, and I see myself as a consensus builder who can help re-unite a very divided county.”
McQuade was born and raised in Richwood, West Virginia, the tenth of 15 children.
She graduated from Marshall University in 1972, received a graduate degree from Columbia University in 1974, and returned to Marshall as a faculty member.
She subsequently attended the Antioch School of Law in Washington, D.C., and graduated in 1979.
She has been a member of the West Virginia Bar since 1979.
McQuade began her legal career at the WV Attorney General’s Office, as an Assistant Attorney General prosecuting environmental crimes around the state.
She then joined the U.S. Department of Justice as a federal prosecutor, and prosecuted mail fraud, conspiracy, and money laundering cases for 20 years.
She served for a year as an Assistant U.S. Attorney in Martinsburg, prosecuting a wide range of criminal cases there.
After losing in a tight race for Jefferson County Prosecuting Attorney against Ralph Lorenzetti in 2008, McQuade has been actively engaged in a number of Jefferson County activities.
In 2008, she was appointed to a newly established Community Criminal Justice Board. This was a regional panel with establishing a day reporting center and other alternatives to traditional prison sentences in an effort reduce jail bills in Jefferson and Berkeley counties.
Recently, she was appointed to the Jefferson County Commission’s Water Advisory Committee because of her experience in environmental matters.
She is currently Vice-President of the League of Women Voters of Jefferson County and is a member of the Board of Directors of the Shepherdstown Men’s Club.
In addition to these civic activities, McQuade has established a private law practice principally handling child abuse and neglect cases, which she cares deeply about.