MILWAUKEE -- Chris Abele was sworn in for his first full term as Milwaukee County Executive Tuesday, April 24th.
Abele was elected last April to finish Governor Scott Walker’s term. Abele will be running unopposed this spring for a full four-year executive term.
"We will not back down from making the tough decisions. I have been and will remain, white hot focused on finding efficiencies, improving services and lowering the cost for Milwaukee county taxpayers," Abele said Tuesday.
In Abele's first year, he presented a County budget with no new taxes, trimming areas such as the Milwaukee County Sheriff's Department, which caused major friction between Abele and Sheriff David Clarke, but Abele's budget avoided furlough days.
That friction may take awhile to dissolve. Sheriff Clarke's Honor Guard was invited to participate in the swearing-in ceremony but declined. The Milwaukee Police Department's Honor Guard had to step in.
Abele said he's renewing the call for civility and wants to move the county forward, and the best way to do that is to work with everyone. "Leadership in a democracy is about our shared mission to serve the citizens. Leadership is not about announcing to everyone who you're angry at or publicly insulting other public servants," Abele said.
Abele said he is looking forward to working with the County Board, and pushing new projects forward, such as the Pathways to Responsible Fatherhood, for which the County received a federal grant. "This program supports families in three areas - economic stability, responsible parenting and healthy marriages," Abele said.
In his recent State of the County address, Abele focused on jobs and long-term economic development. He announced a collaboration with the city of Milwaukee to create a task force for the vacant Park East Corridor. That was the space Kohl’s recently rejected for its headquarters. The task force is aimed at learning from Kohl’s decision and attracting other development to the area.
"As I look towards the next four years, I know there are great things ahead for Milwaukee County," Abele said.