Chris Abele is bringing a new form of Democratic leadership to Milwaukee County and Wisconsin. By combining social responsibility and fiscal discipline, County Executive Abele has lowered the County’s deficit by more than $70 million and proposed budgets that don’t raise taxes, while at the same time, Abele has instituted domestic partnership benefits for employees and strengthened critical safety net services like public transportation and child support.
Abele was elected Milwaukee County Executive on April 4, 2011 with an overwhelming 61% of the vote in a nonpartisan special election. One year later he ran unopposed and was reelected to a full four-year term.
Since taking office, County Executive Abele has steered clear of status quo politics, opting to spend his time and focus finding ways to provide and restore important, effective and efficient services to Milwaukee County residents. Abele focuses on disciplined decision-making and making the county more sustainable for generations to come.
In 2011, the year Abele took office, the Public Policy Forum examined Milwaukee County’s fiscal trend and predicted that by 2014 the County would be facing an $86 million deficit. Thanks to the decisions Abele pushed for, the actual deficit in 2014 was $15 million, a $71 million swing in the right direction.
County Executive Abele has used his effective leadership to greatly reduce the pension backdrop that nearly bankrupted Milwaukee County. Abele has also jumpstarted development on County owned land that has sat empty for years and pushed through numerous intergovernmental agreements that provide better service while also saving tax dollars.
As a lifelong Democrat, Abele is proud to support Democrats across the state and county, but he is also proud to reach across the aisle to get to outcomes that serve the people of Milwaukee County. As County Executive, he’s used his platform to try and bring civility back to politics. Abele acknowledges that politicians wont always see eye to eye but he tries to remind people that political labels are not as important as getting things done.
For more than two decades Abele has been a highly successful business owner, he currently runs a growing real estate company, CSA Commercial, and venture fund, CSA Partners. Prior to taking office in 2011 he also ran a medical waste company and served as CEO of the Milwaukee-based Argosy Foundation, where he remains a trustee. The Argosy Foundation aims to support leaders and organizations that employ creative and entrepreneurial approaches to solving systemic problems.
Chris is a dedicated personal philanthropist whose work has been primarily in arts, education and human rights. For nearly 20 years, his volunteer work has included serving on numerous local, national and international nonprofit boards. He currently serves on boards at the Boys & Girls Clubs of America, Schools that Can, and the Carr Center for Human Rights Policy at Harvard University. Chris is also an active fundraiser, chairing and co-chairing campaigns that raised more than $150 million. He has received numerous awards for his effective leadership and speaks regularly on leadership, philanthropy and nonprofit best practices.