- Associated Press - Thursday, June 28, 2018

MOUNT PLEASANT, Wis. (AP) - The Latest on Foxconn groundbreaking (all times local):

2:20 p.m.

Steve Anderson lives near the planned Foxconn Technology Group manufacturing campus in southeast Wisconsin and he’s trying to keep an open mind about it.

Anderson attended a rally Thursday that attracted about 300 opponents to the project. They are voicing concerns over the potential $4.5 billion cost to taxpayers, the plant’s impact on the environment and effect it will have on the local community.

Anderson is a 63-year-old substitute teacher who says he thinks Foxconn “definitely would be a major boost economically.” But he says his top concern is potential air pollution.



Patrick Schelble of Milwaukee came to the rally carrying a sign that said “People and planet over corporate profits.” He says the Foxconn deal was cut behind closed doors.

___

1 p.m.

House Speaker Paul Ryan and Wisconsin Gov. Scott Walker say the massive Foxconn Technology Group project will transform the state and make it a magnet for millennials.

They both spoke Thursday at a ceremony marking the beginning of construction on the massive campus for the Taiwan-based electronics manufacturer in southeast Wisconsin.

Walker says “This will make us a brain gain state, not a brain drain state.” He predicts it will transform the state like Microsoft did for Washington state.

Critics question the state’s commitment to provide up to $4.5 billion in state and local tax incentives to help Foxconn, the most ever by a state to a foreign company. Opponents also worry about the environmental effects of the 20-million-square-foot campus, which will tap Lake Michigan for water.

___

12:30 p.m.

President Donald Trump and Wisconsin Gov. Scott Walker have grabbed a pair of golden shovels and moved piles of dirt under the hot June sun as part of a ceremonial groundbreaking for the Foxconn Technology Group project.

They stood in front of a massive American flag held aloft by a pair of construction cranes Thursday.

Trump and Walker were joined by Foxconn CEO Terry Gou, House Speaker Paul Ryan and the first Wisconsin Foxconn employee Christopher Murdock for the ceremony.

Miles away in downtown Mount Pleasant protesters, including Democrats hoping to unseat Walker this fall, gathered to disavow the project - particularly its impact on the environment and the $4.5 billion in potential taxpayer subsidies to the Taiwan-based company.

But Walker and backers say the project will be transformational for the state’s economy.

___

11:50 a.m.

Republican officials at the ceremonial groundbreaking for the Foxconn Technology Group project are discounting concerns of critics, saying they are confident the Taiwanese company will be a major employer in southeast Wisconsin.

Wisconsin Assembly Speaker Robin Vos says Democratic opponents of Foxconn are focused on scoring political points against President Donald Trump and Gov. Scott Walker.

Opponents have questioned the potential $4.5 billion in taxpayer subsidies to Foxconn and environmental impacts of the campus that’s to make liquid crystal display screens.

U.S. Rep. Glenn Grothman, of Wisconsin, says “there are people who are against any development whatsoever.” He says people in general like the idea of more jobs.

And former Republican Gov. Tommy Thompson says “you can’t do anything without opposition.”

___

11:40 a.m.

Gov. Scott Walker says Foxconn Technology Group’s $10 billion investment in southeastern Wisconsin will turn the area into a global center for advanced manufacturing and high-technology innovations.

Speaking ahead of Thursday afternoon’s groundbreaking for the massive Foxconn complex with President Donald Trump, Walker said Wisconsin didn’t offer the largest incentive package to attract the Taiwanese manufacturer, but it offered enough to win.

As for critics of the state’s $3 billion incentive package, Walker cited a Metropolitan Milwaukee Association of Commerce study that estimated the development will add $51 billion to Wisconsin’s economy over the 15 years the state pays incentives to the company.

Walker made his comments on WTMJ radio Thursday morning.

____

11:10 a.m.

Protesters are gathering as President Donald Trump heads from a morning fundraiser in Milwaukee to a ceremonial groundbreaking about 30 miles south in Mount Pleasant for the massive Foxconn Technology Group project.

Five golden shovels were arranged in front of a massive American flag in a field where dirt is already being moved for the 20-million-square-foot Foxconn campus.

Chants of “Hey, hey, Ho, ho. Donald Trump has got to go” were heard near the Pfister Hotel in Milwaukee, where Trump overnighted and was attending a fundraiser. About 50 people walked from a downtown park to as close as they could get to the roped-off hotel to protest Trump’s immigration policy.

A larger protest expected to attract hundreds was planned in Mount Pleasant, near the Foxconn site.

___

6:34 a.m.

Protesters are planning a vigorous welcome for President Donald Trump as he visits Wisconsin for a ceremonial groundbreaking of the $10 billion Foxconn Technology Group campus.

They’re converging on Mount Pleasant, about 30 miles south of Milwaukee, where the beginning of work on the 20-million-square-foot campus was to be celebrated Thursday.

Nearly 40 groups representing students, environmentalists, civil rights advocates, teachers, union workers and others have organized a protest for the same time. Their counter-event will feature dozens of speakers, a marching band, singers known as the “Raging Grannies” and musicians who plan to play the ominous theme music for Darth Vader and the bad guys from “Star Wars.”

The Foxconn project could employ up to 13,000 people, but opponents say it is costing Wisconsin taxpayers too much.

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