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An Interview With State Rep. Barca & Ohnstad: Part 2

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They Fought for Higher Wages/Local and Academic support

FCW- “Didn’t the legislation initially state that wages, to qualify for the supplement would be 150% of minimum wage?”

Ohnstad- “One of the things that we fought in the legislation was language that specified wages of 12.00 per hour to qualify for the supplement from the state- none of us were interested in bringing 3,000 jobs at 12.00 per hour to the area. So, we negotiated a change to the 15.00 per hour. I, basically, lived and breathed Foxconn this summer- sitting in on many public hearings and meetings.  The President of Marquette (Michael Lovell) spoke about this project at a couple of the meetings.  He had lived in Pittsburgh and witnessed a huge economic rebound in that city during his residency there. He believes that the Foxconn project could do the same thing for this area.  Also, the President of the UW System called it transformative.”

Barca- “All of the academics are behind this project- Bryan Albricht from Gateway, Ray Cross from the UW System, other local college leaders have all been very outspoken about their support for the project. Everyone on a local level was in favor of this project, as well. Both county boards, village boards, City Councils- all local governing bodies were in favor of this.”

 

FCW- “On that subject, Mayor Antaramian took Kenosha out of the mix in the Foxconn project- was this due to an inability to provide police and fire? Infrastructure?”

Barca- “No, there seems to be a broad misconception about the Mayor’s stance and the City of Kenosha and why they took themselves out of the mix. First of all, the Mayor has stated over and over again that he is completely in favor of the project, as is the entire Common Council in the City of Kenosha. Any assertion that he might not be in favor of the project is completely incorrect. The primary reason the city had to take themselves out of this is because of a legal agreement that the City has with Somers and Paris townships- it is an Intergovernmental Boundary agreement that took over a year to accomplish and the Foxconn project was in conflict with this agreement. Besides, it did not even take Foxconn a week to respond after hearing Kenosha was out that they had chosen Mount Pleasant, so I think they had already made up their minds.”

Ohnstad- “The Mayor’s support of the project has always been clear and the reasoning for bowing out of the race for this project is detailed in his letter which is available on the city website.”

 

Read the other parts of the Barca & Ohnstad Interview here!

Part 1       Part 2       Part 3        Part 4      Part 5

 

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