Chris Abele is bringing a new form of leadership to Milwaukee County and Wisconsin. County Executive Abele’s vision is to create a model government that not only provides efficient and high-quality services, but focuses on empowerment and solving the big community problems that exist in Milwaukee County.
When County Executive Abele was first elected in 2011, funding from County services was being diverted as a mechanism to keep up with debt payments and deferred maintenance. By decreasing County liabilities by hundreds of millions of dollars and modernizing the way government does business, the County Executive has been able to restore services to a point where thousands more people are served every year. Restored services are now more efficient, higher-quality and most importantly, are responsive to community needs.
Five years ago, Milwaukee County faced a dire fiscal outlook, and the Public Policy Forum asked of County government, “Should It Go or Should It Stay?” Today, Milwaukee County, through the dedication of its employees, is setting performance records and is poised to serve as a model government. Thanks to thoughtful analysis, disciplined decision making, and principled budgeting, the County’s fiscal outlook is now stronger than it has been for decades.
As a lifelong Democrat, County Executive Abele is proud to support Democrats across the state and country, but he is also proud to reach beyond political labels and across the aisle to achieve the outcomes that serve the people of Milwaukee County. As County Executive, he’s used his platform to try and bring civility back to politics by asking decision makers to set their differences aside and focus on getting things done.
For more than two decades, County Executive Abele has been a successful business owner. He currently runs a growing real estate company, CSA Commercial, and venture fund, CSA Partners that has created net new jobs and attracted new business to Milwaukee. Most recently, the County Executive Abele started Ward 4, the city’s largest start-up hub, that aims to "spur economic development" through creation of a space for early-stage companies.
Prior to taking office County Executive Abele ran a medical equipment company and led the Milwaukee-based Argosy Foundation as its CEO, where he remains a trustee. The Argosy Foundation seeks to empower others by supporting 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, Schools that Can-Milwaukee, and the Milwaukee Film Festival, which he co-founded. He has received numerous awards for his effective leadership and speaks regularly on leadership, philanthropy and nonprofit best practices.