Giant in Annapolis Sen. John A. Cade: GOP leader dissected budgets and bureaucrats, but cared for people.

November 17, 1996

JACK CADE will be missed. He leaves a huge void in the Maryland Senate, in the state Republican Party and in the politics of Anne Arundel County. He was a giant in political Annapolis, a one-man band who gave the Senate its ornery disposition but also its bipartisan determination to enact good legislation. He was a founding father of the modern Anne Arundel county government and the most forceful personality on the Maryland political scene.

A giant of a man physically but also intellectually and vocally, Mr. Cade was the undisputed master of county and state spending policies. Every budget he worked on over 31 years bore his considerable imprint. He was a ferocious interrogator, a bulldog who not only growled but knew his subject matter in stunning detail. Woe to the bureaucrat, lobbyist or cabinet secretary who showed up unprepared for a Cade grilling.

Mr. Cade was a fiscal conservative who didn't believe in the illogic of tax cuts as a cure-all for deficits. He continually hammered home the message that the way to balance the state budget is through spending cuts. And he fought vigorously and loudly to do just that.

But the gruff, budget-slashing conservative also had a social conscience. He felt deeply for society's poor, downtrodden, young and elderly. He pushed to get more aid for those on the dole, for low-income and middle-class kids trying to attend community college, for the disabled. He was a friend to Baltimore City and a supporter of the arts. When recession threatened great harm to state social programs, Mr. Cade called for a temporary income tax surcharge to keep crucial aid flowing.

He could be brutally blunt one minute, tender the next, but ZTC always honest. Often, he would rise in indignation when a bill didn't measure up to his high standards. Bad legislation and bad policy were anathema. But he was never partisan. The goal was to pass well-crafted, effective laws. No wonder he was named a budget subcommittee chairman -- unheard of for a minority member.

John A. Cade died Thursday morning at age 67, in his 14th year as Senate Republican leader, his 22nd year as a senator and after more than three decades of public service. He was a pivotal player in the State House, one who cared deeply about making a difference for people. That is what mattered most to him.

Pub Date: 11/17/96

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