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Abele Handily Beats Larson For Second Term as Milwaukee County Executive

Milwaukee County Executive Chris Abele has won another four-year term. He defeated state Sen. Chris Larson in Tuesday’s election by a margin of 56 to 44 percent.

More than 100 Chris Abele supporters packed into a tiny room at Ugly’s Lounge in downtown Milwaukee. The County Executive took the podium shortly before 10 pm to chants of “four more years.” He called the victory “incredibly humbling.”

“Five years ago, I made a point of saying I would work with anybody I could regardless of what letter is behind their name, regardless of whether they’re in politics, you could be a church goer, a businessman, a nonprofit, a volunteer, anybody I can if that helps move the county I am passionate about forward. That is my commitment and it always will be,” Abele says.

Abele says the county is in much better fiscal shape than it was when he first took office in 2011. He says there’s more work to be done and in particular, he vowed to press ahead with efforts to move people into permanent housing.

“We’re in the process of a project we announced last summer to end chronic homelessness with permanent housing in three years. This is not something that the county is mandated to do but it’s something that society and God know government, should do,” Abele says.

Abele vowed to improve the lives of black residents in Milwaukee County, and touted the new Office of African-American Affairs he helped set up. One person who campaigned for Abele is Shaina Franzen. She says Abele has done a good job overhauling mental health care in the county.

“I think he can definitely transition people away from the outdated Mental Health Complex and into community care, which they’ve been doing aggressively the past couple years. So, it will be interesting to see the progress they make on that, now that he’s re-elected,” Franzen says.

Franzen says she worked with Abele on the issue, when her mother went through the system. Abele will be sworn-in to his second term later this month.

Marti was a reporter with WUWM from 1999 to 2021.
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