On July 26, 2017, Wisconsin gained national attention when President Donald Trump announced at the White House that Foxconn Technology Group might be coming to the state.
Over the months that followed, we learned the Taiwanese giant was coming to Mount Pleasant, and that the proposal was to create a massive $10 billion manufacturing campus that would create up to 13,000 jobs in Wisconsin.
Since that time, people all around the nation and world have been fascinated with the project, and Racine County.
They come at it from an outside perspective, thinking: How could this huge company end up in this “tiny town?” Will this community be able to handle it?
For instance, a recent Reply All podcast, an audio show that averages 5 million downloads per month run by two radio journalists, started by saying: “There is this tiny town in Wisconsin called Mount Pleasant … a place where nothing really happens until last year when the village became the site of a completely unprecedented massive international experiment.”
As part of that podcast, they wrongfully cast Mount Pleasant Village President Dave DeGroot as the villain in this “small town” story.
They’re wrong. There is a lot they don’t realize.
For one, Mount Pleasant’s president was only one person seated at a table that included more than 50 people.
That local Foxconn team included attorneys, financial advisers, communication specialists, property acquisition personnel, members of the Racine County Economic Development Corp, and representatives of Racine County as well as Mount Pleasant. It’s a team that has done an amazing job bringing a game-changing development to Racine County and Wisconsin.
Outsiders also don’t realize that Mount Pleasant is not a tiny village filled with cornfields. It’s in the middle of a bustling corridor between Milwaukee, a metropolitan area of about 1.6 million people, and Chicago, a metropolitan area with about 9.5 million. Racine has long been regarded as part of the Milwaukee metropolitan area, by the Census Bureau and by the federal Office of Management and Budget; the Village of Mount Pleasant borders Racine to the south, north and west.
Racine County was due for something huge to come here. Already, Foxconn has brought multiple development opportunities to our area; it also has led to Foxconn innovation centers are being established throughout the state.
With a massive development coming to our area, first announced by the president of the United States himself, it is not surprising that outsiders are looking in and asking questions, just as The Journal Times is asking, and will continue to ask, questions to keep officials and the project accountable.
Foxconn in Mount Pleasant is more than a “tiny town” story. This is a national and international story. But it’s not just a small town’s staff working on the project.
The team in place here has done a heck of a job. They should be commended, even as we hold them accountable.