Chris Abele is bringing a new form of Democratic leadership to Milwaukee County. As a social progressive, Abele has instituted domestic partnership benefits for employees and strengthened critical safety net services like mental health care. Invested in economic development tools like the transit system, outcomes-based job training and job placement. He has focused his attention on making sure that County services are having a real impact on poverty. Abele’s approach to the office is one that takes into account fiscal responsibility and sustainability so future generations don’t have to worry about having great parks or a transit system.
When he took office in 2011, the County had been left in disarray and many wondered if it was headed for bankruptcy. For years, previous county executives and county boards ignored looming problems and opted for short-term fixes. 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.
As a lifelong Democrat, Abele is proud to support Democrats across the state and county, but he is also able to reach across the aisle to get to outcomes that serve the hard working families of Milwaukee County. As County Executive, he’s used his platform to try and bring civility back to politics. Abele acknowledges that politicians won’t 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 successful start-up accelerator that focuses on bringing high-growth jobs to Milwaukee. Prior to taking office in 2011, he also ran a medical equipment 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.
For nearly 20 years, Abele’s philanthropy and volunteer work has included serving on and leading numerous local, national and international nonprofit boards. He currently serves on many boards, including the Boys & Girls Clubs of America, Milwaukee Film Festival (which he co-founded), Schools that Can-Milwaukee and Victory Fund. He has received numerous awards for his effective leadership.
Chris is also a proud Milwaukeean of more than 25 years. While he wasn’t born here, he likes to joke that he got here as soon as he could. He is honored his three daughters have Milwaukee on their birth certificates.