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Foxconn Hot Issue In Racine County Board Race

Courtesy of Jason Eckman and Kim Mahoney
Jason Eckman (left) and Kim Mahoney are running for a seat on the Racine County Board in the spring election.

Kim Mahoney has battled the Foxconn corporation for three years. She is running against Jason Eckman, a supporter of the Mount Pleasant Foxconn development, for a seat on the Racine County Board in the spring election.

Mahoney and her husband Jim have refused local buyout offers on their home. They still live just a few hundred yards from Foxconn’s huge complex, which is under construction. Mahoney says local officials haven’t been much help. So, when the current supervisor of Racine County District 14 decided not to run for reelection, she decided to make her first bid for public office.

READ: Latest Foxconn Fight Triggers Praise, Caution Among The Company's Neighbors

Mahoney, senior litigation and legal compliance paralegal, promises to be more responsive to district residents.

“While I was affected by the Foxconn project, as were the people [affected by road widening or buyouts] along Highway KR, there’s certainly other issues that affect residents in the 14th District, that their county supervisor may have to provide some help or resources on,” Mahoney tells WUWM.

Racine County is part of a local government agreement helping Foxconn. Mahoney worries the county won’t enforce the deal if Foxconn continues to shrink its development plans. So, she says she’d try to halt further incentives to the company.

Mahoney’s opponent in the county board race is Jason Eckman, a member of the village board in Sturtevant. Eckman says the Foxconn project is leading to other economic growth, or what he calls a halo effect.

“We’re seeing new restaurants. We’re getting a new hospital. These are the kind of investments that show other people are seeing potential in the county, and they’re willing to invest also,” Eckman says.

Eckman says he’s happy that Amazon Logistics has agreed to locate in Sturtevant, promising to create hundreds of jobs.

“It’s all-around good. Brings jobs to the county, and it increases the assessed value in the village and reduces the tax burden on the residents,” Eckman says.

Mahoney hopes Amazon would provide fulltime work and good benefits. “You know, Amazon is hiring a lot of temporary workers. We need to make sure these people can afford not only the cost of living but health insurance,” Mahoney says.

But the winner of the Racine County Board race and other victorious newcomers this spring will apparently be taking office during a deep economic slump linked to the COVID-19 pandemic. Mahoney says that means her first priority as county supervisor would be to make sure health departments can get more people tested for the coronavirus and to help steer federal or state assistance dollars to those who need the aid.

Eckman says his time in political office shows he can work with other officials to get things done.

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Chuck Quirmbach joined WUWM in August 2018. He focuses his longform stories on health, innovation, science, technology, transportation, utilities and business.
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