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“Everybody needs to be included:” Public voice thoughts on Foxconn deal

STURTEVANT -- The proposed Foxconn deal has created its first job! The village of Mount Pleasant adding to its staff in an attempt to woo the electronics manufacturer. This comes as a crucial meeting is held nearby.

Foxconn says it will build a $10-billion plant, and hire thousands of workers. There is a big "if" though. On Tuesday, August 22nd at the Gateway Technical College, lawmakers put on their listening ears before deciding "if" they should give the company a deal worth up to $3-billion.

The state's Joint Finance Committee held a public session not in Madison-- but at a place all that could to be close to a proposed $10-billion Foxconn electronics plant.

The deal is reliant on the state chipping in a roughly $3-billion tax incentive project.

Republicans say the risk can't be missed.

"There is a lot of downside to saying no. There is a lot of upside to saying yes," State Senator Alberta Darling.

Democrats say there are many unanswered questions.

The meeting gave the public its chance to weight in.

"This risk is an investment that Wisconsin should take and we will have a big payoff if half of this comes true," a man said.

Both for and against.

"What if workers are replaced by robots who don't pay taxes. The plan will fail and the break even point will not be reached," a woman said.

"You let elected officials go 5,10,15, 20 minutes. I'm a person too. And I pay taxes too. So let me finish," Alfonoso Gardner of Mount Pleasant said.

Gardner would not allow time constraints stop him from demanding guarantees that Foxconn will hire minorities.

"If you're going to take money from everybody, everybody needs to be included. Everybody," Gardner said.

As debate rages, there is news the Foxconn hoopla has created its first job.

"We did this to send a very strong signal to Foxconn we are ready willing and able to get this done," Village president Dave Degroot said.

The village of Mount Pleasant has hired a full-time "Project Director," in the hopes they can woo the electronics giant to their community.

"It does have everything to do with Foxconn but again a decision hasn't been made so we're just trying get out in front of it," Degroot said.

Mt. Pleasant appears to be one of two finalists for the location of the plant. When Degroot thought a decision would be made-- he said three weeks ago.

The next vote on Foxconn could come as early as next week. On Tuesday, Senate Republicans say they want to have a bill on the Governor's desk by the end of next month.