Milwaukee County Executive Chris Abele not seeking re-election

NOW: Milwaukee County Executive Chris Abele not seeking re-election

MILWAUKEE (CBS 58) -- Milwaukee County Executive Chris Abele will not be seeking re-election. 

Abele confirmed the news in an interview with CBS 58 reporter Mark McPherson Wednesday afternoon. His announcement comes just a few months after launching his re-election bid. 

Abele has been the County Executive since 2011. He was re-elected in 2012 and 2016. 

He says after nine years, he wants to move on and spend more time with family. 

"I think it's good for any organization, particularly one as important as government, to periodically have a new set of eyes to look at all the same things I've been looking at for nine years," Abele said.

There are no plans for higher office in his immediate future, but he will stay involved in the community.

"Like it or not, Milwaukee is stuck with me, and I will always be not passive about doing everything I can to advance the town I love," he said. 

Abele says he's making the announcement now to give other people a chance to decide if they want to run. He called it a difficult decision.

He says he's proud of what the county has done with mental health care, health insurance coverage and homelessness in the county. But there is one area that still needs to be addressed moving forward. 

"The huge commitment county-wide we've made towards racial equity -- I don't think anyone living in Milwaukee would disagree, this is the single biggest challenge we have, and the single most important one to address," he said.

Abele will serve out the rest of his term. That means he will be in office until April of 2020. 

Milwaukee County Sheriff Earnell Lucas released the following statement: 

“Decisions like County Executive Abele’s are very difficult and deeply personal. I thank the County Executive for his years of service to Milwaukee County, I wish him and his family the very best, and trust they will remain active members of our community.”

State Sen. Lena Taylor issued a statement in response to Abele's decision. It says, in part:

"These jobs are not easy, and I respect the fact that given his personal wealth, he didn't have to work in public service. He wanted to do the work, and that has to count for something."
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