Shepherd Express: Setting the Record Straight

If the two full-page foldout glossy mailers I received from Chris Abele are any indication, the race for Milwaukee County Executive between Abele and challenger Chris Larson is in full swing.

With that in mind, the folks at the Shepherd Express have another piece outlining how Abele’s claims and what’s actually true aren’t always the same thing.

The Milwaukee County executive campaign has started in earnest over the past week. Apparently responding to recent internal polls showing his low approval ratings, County Executive Abele has begun his multimillion-dollar multimedia advertising blitz with a glossy mailer sent to many homes in the county and television ads trying to get across the same messages.

Unfortunately, like so much of Abele’s life and his biography, what he claims and what is actually true are often very far apart. In either his brochure or his TV ads he tries to claim that he is working to improve the lives of women and working families, that he balanced the county budgets without raising taxes over the past five years, and that since he has family money, “Chris Abele can’t be bought.”

To start with, his concern for women is apparently totally poll driven because along with his low approval rating, his concern for women and working families also polled very low and for good reason. Since women are still paid less and since single women are often the ones raising their children on their own, they live on very tight budgets and any change in their paychecks has a huge impact on their family’s well-being. One way to help low-wage working women—such as nursing assistants and home care workers—is to enact a living wage policy, which in many cases simply brings salaries in line with past cost of living increases. But when county supervisors passed a living wage ordinance, Abele vetoed it, which the board ultimately overrode.


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