Grassroots North Shore has endorsed Wisconsin State Senator Chris Larson for Milwaukee County Executive.
The primary election is Tuesday, February 16, and the spring election is Tuesday, April 5.
We view this election as critical for the future of Milwaukee County and Wauwatosa in particular. This is why we feel so strongly:
1) Since Chris Abele took office, he has worked to concentrate unprecedented authority in his own hands and to eliminate checks and balances on his arbitrary power. Abele worked with Scott Walker to change state law so that he has near-unilateral power to carry out the following:
- Sell off County property such as the Mitchell airport, the zoo, public lakefront property, the Public Museum or the Historical Society. We expect he will likely escalate the privatization of the County Grounds in Tosa, and eliminate the remaining green space we have left. Chris Larson, as State Senator, led the fight in Madison to oppose the Republican led legislature’s change to state law which gives Abele this authority. Chris Larson has vowed to work to reverse this power grab.
- Take over Milwaukee Public Schools, despite Abele having no background in education. Chris Larson opposed this change in state law that Abele worked to pass. Larson believes in local control of education and has fought relentlessly to reinstate public education funding that was cut in Madison. He is a supporter of the Save Our Schools (SOS) efforts in Tosa and similar efforts in other local communities.
2) Abele privatized jobs at the zoo and the Courthouse, outsourcing them to companies with low wages and meager benefits. He even vetoed the Mobile Food Market designed to bring healthy food to central city food deserts. When Chris Larson was on the County Board, he opposed the privatization of public services off the backs of the lowest paid employees in the County.
3) Abele vetoed a Living Wage ordinance despite the fact that Milwaukee is the 9th poorest city in the nation. Chris Larson has been a strong supporter of a Living Wage ordinance, similar to ones that have been so successful in other major cities.
4) Abele is chauffeured by his private guards in a Hollywood style limousine as part of a taxpayer-funded $100,000 contract, but vehemently opposed the Go-pass card that allows the elderly, the disabled and vets to ride the bus for free. Chris Larson is a strong supporter of public transit and a supporter of the Go-Pass.
5) Chris Abele supports and has contributed to anti-Milwaukee conservative state Reps. Dale Kooyenga and Joe San Felippo, cementing an alliance with state Republicans who support his efforts to privatize County functions and undermine family supporting jobs. Chris Larson, as a state Senator, has been a leader in Madison in opposing the Walker agenda, rather than financing the campaigns of Republican politicians who have devastated Milwaukee County with their agenda.
6) As the chair of the MATC board appointment committee, Abele has played a key role in rejecting qualified applicants from Milwaukee County and appointing less qualified applicants from Ozaukee County, even though Ozaukee County represents a very small percentage of the MATC District. Several of his appointees are anti-employee and anti-public education. The result has been a dramatic decline in minority representation on the MATC Board in a college that is the state’s only majority minority college. Chris Larson is committed to an MATC Board that is diverse and not tied to special interests.
7) While cutting wages and benefits for front line County employees, Abele has increased the salaries of his hand-picked cabinet members. Chris Larson has pledged that there will be no more favoritism and cronyism when he takes office.
8) Abele vetoed funding for transit and parks and fired the award winning parks director, Sue Black. Chris Larson has been a strong environmental advocate throughout his life.
9) Abele forced the bus drivers to strike by trying to turn full-time driver jobs into part-time employment at the very time Milwaukee is experiencing a crisis of good jobs. Chris Larson understands that you can’t build a vibrant Milwaukee County when the families who live here can’t even afford basic services.
10) Now Chris Abele is trying to reinvent himself by using the vast wealth he inherited from his billionaire father to buy this election. He has spent unprecedented amounts of money on television ads and multiple numerous slick mailings. In his ads, he is taking credit for things he did not do and even for efforts he actually opposed. Chris Larson has been a champion of working people and the middle class for his entire career. He was a leader in opposing Act 10 and the other attacks on our way of life emanating from the state capitol. Chris Larson does not have great wealth but he does have integrity.
For all these reasons, Grassroots Tosa strongly endorses the election of Senator Chris Larson as Milwaukee County Executive.