1. While he was County Executive, Abele arranged for an increase in the powers of the office. Do you plan to keep those increased powers? Why or why not?
No. Over my 12 years of public service, I demonstrated my ability and willingness to collaborate with local governments, labor unions, and citizen groups. I am committed to working with the county board as much as possible. As County Executive, I will go to the state to restore the powers of the board and ensure that there is a check and balance on the power here in Milwaukee County, we can’t risk all that power in one office. Do folks already not remember that Scott Walker was County Executive?
2. What do you consider the most important fight you have to lead as CE, including the biggest financial, health, and social issues? How do you plan to accomplish this?
First, we’ll state on day one by coordinating in the effort to battle the COVID-19 pandemic. That may take weeks if not months and it’s essential we succeed to save lives. After that, we will work to jump start the economy to get as many of our neighbors back to work as possible. I will dedicate my office to finding additional revenue from private and federal grants, we need to focus on obtaining every available dollar we can to rebuild our community and jump start a new era for Milwaukee County. There’s more we can do once things calm down. From working with our public schools to offer youth apprenticeships and cheaper transit options, to coordinating with municipalities on public safety and emergency medical services. It’s crucial to have someone with experience, relationships, and knowledge to coordinate these efforts, both in crisis and after. Having been lucky enough to serve in public office for 12 years, I believe I have the experience to lead Milwaukee County forward.
3. Should we restore supervisor status to full time? Explain why or why not, and how you would implement that change.
I voted against the consolidation of power, spearheaded by Chris Abele, that stripped the local voice out of our democracy. The power grab has hurt our representation and we don’t know the full scope of it. I’m proud to have fought against further power grabs that would have allowed for parkland to be sold with limited oversight by the community. When I announced my candidacy, I made sure my first pledge was to not sell any of our parks. We need to restore democracy and I’m open to making sure there is a clear check and balance restored so no future executive can hurt our community without first talking to the community.
4. Why do you consider yourself the best candidate for the Milwaukee County Executive position?
I’ve lived in MKE my whole life. I'm running to make sure that we've got somebody who's looking out ahead for all of us. Otherwise, we're at real risk of just continuing down the same downward spiral we’ve been on of cuts and pitting one priority against another while letting a brighter future slip away. It comes from a different ideology, which is that I think of government as a community. Or, more directly, as a family. What we do as a community is work toward big goals we never would be able to do alone: like build roads, maintain parks, and run a transit system. At the same time, we take care of each other when it’s needed because we hope that there will be folks to take care of us when we need it. It’s the everyday things you do to help out your neighbors. Things like shoveling your elderly neighbor’s sidewalk. You do it because it’s the right thing to do and if you weren't able to get out and shovel, you’d hope that your neighbor would do it for you. I believe that caring for others starts in your home and extends to your block, then out to your neighborhood. If we start thinking about our county in this way, then we look at each other not as strangers but as neighbors. In one neighborhood. Because that’s what we are: 952,085 neighbors who picked the greatest place in the world to live. If we can do that, it becomes a whole lot easier to tackle our biggest problems: Ending family homelessness once and for all. Getting dedicated funding for transit so folks can get to jobs. Revitalizing our amazing park system so everyone has a place to relax and breath easy. Strengthening our public schools so every child has access to a quality education. Serving and protecting all of our seniors. Ending institutional racism and bridging the divide so we’re no longer the most segregated community in the country. We can do this together. I’m Chris Larson, I’m your neighbor, and I’m asking for your vote to be your Milwaukee County Executive.