The issue of the Foxconn development in Racine and the promise of 13,000 new jobs in return for billions in state and local investment in the project was a major issue in the 2018 gubernatorial election which Democrat Tony Evers won.
Now, he is attempting to make sure Foxconn keeps its word after the company recently said it was switching direction with its development and did not accomplish its 2018 hiring goals.
“It's certainly not going to be 13,000 anytime soon. They didn't meet their benchmarks last time,” said Evers in a 1-on-1 discussion with WTMJ's John Mercure Friday.
“Any good paying jobs in Wisconsin is really certainly important to me. We're really going to try to encourage them to be forthright and create as many jobs as possible, and be as consistent as possible. We'll see how it plays out. We want to be good partners, but we also have a lot invested in this.”
Evers was critical of the Foxconn agreement during the campaign. and his criticism has continued with the company's changes – yet he desires to build a positive relationship with the company's leadership with whom he and others in his administration will meet on Monday.
“The lack of clarity and lack of consistency around the Foxconn event is puzzling and disconcerting with me,” Evers said.
“I want to be a good partner with them. I want to make sure that they're a good corporate citizen…we cannot go forward with inconsistence and changing messages. That's been my pitch to them from the beginning. I'll continue to insist on that.”
Evers says part of that pitch involves getting specifics from Foxconn, and making sure the company sticks to its plans.
“Going forward, detailed information of their plans is really important, so we can benchmark that and feel confident that what is being said is actually being accomplished.”
Listen to much more of Evers' interview, where he speaks about criticism of his capital budget from State Senate Majority Leader Scott Fitzgerald and the higher salaries he is giving his cabinet members compared to Governor Scott Walker.