Who Works Better with Other Governments?
Including the city and other local governments? The responses are revealing.
Chris Abele’s Views:
I ran for County Executive because for far too long decisions being made in County government were not in our best interests – the back room pension deal that caused hundreds of millions of dollars to go to individuals rather than our parks, mental health and transit systems and other critical services the County provides; the continued delays in closing loopholes around the backdrop payments; and the lack of management leading to independent researchers questioning if county government should continue to exist.
From before I took office, my commitment has been that I would work with anyone if it meant improving Milwaukee County. It has always seemed pretty straightforward to me – you can accomplish more by putting aside political differences and working together.
We’ve worked with the City of Milwaukee to improve public safety by expanding ShotSpotter and MPD’s response to mental health crisis. We’ve passed bipartisan legislation to improve our mental health system and increase accountability in county government. There is a laundry list of successes that we’ve been able to achieve by working collaboratively with our municipal, state, and federal partners.
The greatest testament to our collaborative approach that puts solutions before politics is embodied by the words of others. I am proud to have their support and that of other municipal executives. I look forward to making continued progress together.
“Chris Abele has been a leader when Milwaukee County needed it the most. Fundamentally shifting services to meet people where they are like the Pathways to Responsible Fatherhood program. Specifically in Wauwatosa, we have finally seen movement on repairing parkways and in parks, at Research Park and in countless other ways. I have a true partner at the County. I hope you will join me in supporting Chris Abele to continue the work on the critical issues our region faces.”
“I believe that Chris Abele embodies a nonpartisan approach to his job that best serves the citizens of our county. In his time in office, he has effectively reduced the deficit he inherited, found ways to enhance needed services, and secured new funding sources from both the state and federal governments.”
“Since beginning to work with Chris in 2011, through the Intergovernmental Cooperation Council (at a time when the County was in dire straights), I have seen Chris make good decisions that benefit the entire County, including all the suburban communities. His choices with issues such as EMS services, Parks departments, transportation, and of course, budgets, were forward thinking goals. Previous County Executives didn’t bother to visit local units of governments or even ask for their opinions.”
Village President, Village of Brown Deer
“I’m supporting Chris Abele because he understands that the job of County Executive means that you have to represent ALL the citizens of Milwaukee County and that includes its southernmost communities. In his first term, Chris has significantly reduced the debt of the County through fiscally-responsible decisions based on real metrics and long-term strategic planning. He’s worked with our state representatives and with the local mayors and village presidents to make sure that our voices were heard. I believe he’s the best choice for all of Milwaukee County.”
Chris Larson’s Views:
Over the last five years, Milwaukee County has seen our current County Executive, Chris Abele, consolidate more power than any executive in the Midwest. On top of that, Abele has sought additional powers over budgeting and policy making that would shut out the public even more. Despite this unprecedented shift in power, we the public have yet to receive an explanation as to exactly why this power shift is a good idea. Think about that: instead of working with local elected leaders and the public, Abele has gone to Republicans in the state, given them maximum contributions, and in return he’s received power over the very local elected leaders and the public he’s worked around. It seems he’s seeking to become the Emergency Manager of Milwaukee County and, despite spending a record amount of his personal wealth on his campaign, he has never explained why he’s doing this.
In order to work collaboratively with other units of government, elected officials must also be able to work with the members in their own government. This, quite frankly, is the opposite of what we have seen from the current County Executive. When Abele could not work collaboratively with the Milwaukee County Board, he repeatedly colluded with Scott Walker and state Republicans to take away power from the county board and consolidate it into his office.
One of my first actions in office will be to sign a memorandum of understanding with the public, which will formally confirm my commitment to working openly on land sales, contracts, and other important issues until the un-democratic consolidation of power is fully repealed. We’ll also stand up against the public school takeover, which subverts the power of the democratically elected school board.
We will include local and state elected leaders in important decisions that affect our shared neighborhoods. I have worked hand-in-hand with legislators on issues from criminal justice reform to community schools to fighting back on the attacks on workers. We will continue these strong partnerships when I am County Executive.
When I saw where our current County Executive was going in consolidating power in his office, I knew I had to do something about it. Since I’ve stepped forward to run against him, I’ve had thousands of conversations with neighbors and we’ve built a coalition of neighbors, parents, students, elected leaders, community organization, pastors, neighborhood groups, retirees, and workers who are ready to move our County forward again with a strong community voice in the County’s highest office. That’s how we intend to win on April 5th and to lead thereafter.