Chris Abele stuns Milwaukee’s political landscape with decision to not seek reelection as County Executive
Milwaukee County Executive Chris Abele released a statement on October 16 explaining his decision to not run again for reelection, a reversal of his announcement in May.
On my first day as County Executive, I pledged to make the tough decisions and face the challenges we had not confronted, no matter what. Every day for the past nine years, I have tried my best to do just that – to put our fiscal house on stable ground, address the root causes of homelessness, modernize our approach to the youth justice system, promote economic development throughout our region, and tackle racial equity in our community. Every day, we have been working with the best team in the world to push harder, do more, and do better for the people we serve.
Today, the time has come to make another tough decision. After nine years in a job I love, I have decided not to run for re-election.
I ran for County Executive because I care about the community I live in, because I believe in public service and because I wanted to improve the quality of life for everyone in Milwaukee County. And I have been humbled that you elected me to serve you for the past nine years.
I have approached public service just as I have approached every venture I take on – giving it my all every day, all day, leaving everything on the field. But I also believe public service is about passing the torch when we have done our best to do what you have elected us to do.
This commitment required significant sacrifice, which I was honored and humbled to take on. Now – alongside my three incredibly dynamic daughters and a new marriage with a strong woman who brings life and love into every room she walks into – it is time to write our next chapter together.
I have submitted my proposed 2020 budget to the board with whom I and my office have enjoyed a much-improved working relationship for the last two years. While the County is still challenged by our need for a better solution to fund local government, the administration and the board are in a good place.
This announcement does not mean I am slowing down. As I have been talking with Department heads, I have made it clear that we will be sprinting through the finish line in April. We have more to do and we will do everything we can to walk out the door leaving Milwaukee County and its residents in a stronger place than it has ever been.
In April, the County Board and I declared racism a public health crisis, and I will continue fighting to address racial equity in Milwaukee. This is – by far – the most significant challenge we face as a community and I join many in remaining committed to not resting until it has been addressed. I will continue working with our teams to implement the countywide strategic planning process, which is already well on its way. I will also continue working with Madison to find a necessary solution to funding our local government adequately. And I am confident we will get there together.
I will also be ready and willing to work with whoever is lucky enough to take on this job next, a person that is sure to have fresh eyes, a different perspective and the passion and energy it will take to serve our residents to the level they deserve.
Today I want to thank the residents of Milwaukee County for the opportunity to serve. I am forever grateful to all the voters and supporters of my campaigns who gave me the privilege to do some of the most rewarding work I’ve done in my life. I am also grateful for the incredible staff and leadership team I get to work with every day who have made that work possible. It has been a privilege to serve with some of the brightest, most competent and driven public servants you can imagine.
Together, we have done right by our community. We have fought to make Milwaukee County stronger and more resilient than ever. And I will never forget the honor it has been to serve alongside you every step of the way.