Residents passing by Foxconn site cautiously optimistic

Posted at 6:52 PM, Jun 28, 2018
and last updated 2018-06-28 19:52:35-04

Gas stations are one of the few truly neutral grounds for people to go. Everyone needs gas regardless of political views. 

However, for one gas station on Thursday, it was the epicenter of a political debate as President Donald Trump came by on his way to the groundbreaking of Foxconn.

"It is getting people off the couch and get into the work field," Latanya Hamilton of Kenosha said. "I don't know about that Donald Trump. I'll leave it as that."

In an exceedingly divisive world, these opinions are frequently what you'll hear. Various polls have shown President Trump's approval rating below 50 percent. That approval rating is on the rise and, at least in Wisconsin, it's due in large part to the deal with Foxconn. 

"It's a great opportunity for the area," John Strupp of Racine said. "It will bring a lot of initial jobs for just the building process and the infrastructure will grow. We'll get stronger."

"The economy is going great," Dave Passow of Milwaukee said. "Seems like he's got everything up and going. I know he's getting a lot of criticism, but I'm all for it."

"Lots of people are down on Trump for a lot of issues," Isaac Garrott of Kenosha said. "I respect him as our president. He is our president. There are a lot of issues and agendas he's brought forth I do agree with. There's a lot of things he's done that I'm not so fond of but he is our president and we have to stand up and support him and whatever he does."

Garrott is a minister in the area. He says he's disagreed with the President's politics before but when it comes to the Foxconn deal, he's in support. 

"I know this may sound funny coming from someone of my descent, but we have to be reasonable," Garrott said. "Politics has nothing to do with providing opportunities for everyone. No matter what demographic you come from, what creed, what race you are, we all have an opportunity to be able to work here if you take initiative. Go out and get training and do what's necessary to be employed. Sometimes, people want things to be given to them. There is an opportunity here but we have to step out and go for it."

While the optimism is high, others are going forward with some caution as well.

"There's risk to it," David Kroenke of West Allis said. "There's risk to everything but you can't win unless you enter. We have to try. We have to make things happen. It's like the old saying, if not now, when? Let's see what happens at the end of the day. Let's take it day by day. Month by month. Year by year."

"As long as we aren't selling our souls," Garrott said. "As long as we're not compromising our values as Wisconsinites to bring this company here."

"I do see positives as far as getting jobs," Hamilton said. "But I'm also scared it's going to be a hard task to get in. You're going to make stipulations so high, to where the poor people cna't get in or get there with transportation and all."

When asked if she thought President Trump had Wisconsin's best interest in mind, Hamilton stuck with a wait and see approach.

"I can honestly say that [he does have our best interests in mind]," Hamilton said. "But for how long? I don't know. We'll see."

Foxconn says the plant will be operational by 2020 and expect to reach its goal of 13,000 employees in up to eight years.