Chris vs. Chris

Who Works Better with Other Governments?

Including the city and other local governments? The responses are revealing.

By - Mar 23rd, 2016 12:59 pm
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Chris Larson vs Chris Abele

Chris Larson vs Chris Abele

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.”

Kathy Ehley
Mayor, City of Wauwatosa

“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.”

Guy Johnson
Village President, Village of Shorewood

“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.”

Carl Krueger
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.”

Steve Scaffidi
Mayor, City of Oak Creek


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.

Milwaukee County has over 960,000 neighbors who count on our elected leaders to make responsible investments with our public resources and outline a shared vision of where we’re going. That’s why we have a plan to get dedicated funding for public transit and parks while reducing property taxes. In order to build our future, we need to have a long-term plan.

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.

9 thoughts on “Chris vs. Chris: Who Works Better with Other Governments?”

  1. Chris Larson needs a better writer to make his case.

  2. Justin says:

    Interesting views from both candidates. My casual observation of Larson over the years is that he is highly partisan. He was the only Senator not to attend the beer and brat summit at the Governor’s mansion, and every interview that I saw him in became a statement on how republicans are to blame for something. A similar approach to Wasserman-Schultz. In my mind, that is not a MKE mindset.

  3. Milwaukee Native says:

    Chris Abele is not known for playing well with others who are peers.

    Abele made a deal to dump the Marcus Center for the Performing Arts into the state-owned Wisconsin Center District without ever consulting its CEO (and without and discernible benefits). Even state leaders who passed it said it was was barely discussed and was merely condoned as payback for Abele committing $80 million for the arena from taxpayers–who were also never consulted. The WCD board has rejected the plan indefinitely. He also tried to underhandedly derail the art museum’s ongoing negotiation’s with the county, a scheme that got foiled (and reportedly enraged arts patrons).

    Abele never talked to the county’s elected comptroller about his discredited debt-collection scheme; the comptroller said it would lose money for the county. So did the elected treasurer, who was also never consulted. Nor did Abele consult the comptroller about giving him a potential sham “vote” on selling off or giving away county property (a vote that can be over-ridden by a random real-estate professional from the city or village where the land is located–not by the village or town exec, as Abele keeps claiming).

    Abele has “collaborated” with tea-party Republican state legislators eager to put the screws to Milwaukee by weakening the input of citizens. Abele has also padded those “allies” campaign coffers. Why has he avoided building alliances with state Dems?

    It’s positive that the municipalities are finally cooperating on sharing services. I hope that continues regardless who’s the county exec. If past is prologue, and Abele is re-elected, municipality leaders can hope to rely on Abele only until he whimsically changes course and leaves them in the lurch–and in the dark. That has been his M.O. with other elected county officials, leaders of arts organizations (Marcus Center, MAM, Shakespeare Festival, etc, etc.), Democrats and others.

  4. Greendaler says:

    I agree with Milwaukee Native regarding Chis Abele. The subject of Milwaukee County Parks is another thorn. As I write this. the Greendale board is reviewing a proposal for the Village to purchase Scout Lake Park on Loomis Road to avoid it being lumped in with his plan to sell off County parks.

  5. DebW says:

    anyone who takes any more tax payer funds for anything should not be elected for this position OR the mayors office. We are sick and tired of paying for the rich to play. SICK of it. My family members feel the same. There are MANY of us eligible to vote.

  6. chris christie says:

    You have a number of endorsements for Chris Abele. You could not find even one for Chris Larson. I was shocked by this obvious omission and agree with Bamberger: FIND ANOTHER WRITER!!!

  7. Markia Active Voter says:

    I heard Chris Larson on 860 WNOV this morning and was quite impressed. He has my vote. Thanks for taking time to come in the community and discuss your viewpoints. My hope is that you continue once you’re elected!

  8. Vincent Hanna says:

    If the JS is accurate, there has been a difference in the campaigns, one that is significant. Abele is spending a lot of money on TV and other advertising while Larson is meeting with people in person much more. That’s telling.

  9. M says:

    Abele’s campaign may not be knocking on doors (that seems to be the case) but WTMJ’s Jeff Wagner is raising hell at this moment over the fact that Abele’s campaign is asking random citizens to knock on doors for him.

    Abele has sent postcards with a list of the recipients’ neighbors asking them to tell their neighbors to vote.

    He’s calling it reverse voter intimidation, despite it being legal. One asked, “Are they that lame in Abele’s campaign.”

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