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Wisconsin roundup: Trump says Wis. wouldn’t get Foxconn ‘if I didn’t get elected’; more state news stories

Gov. Scott Walker, Vice President Mike Pence, House Speaker Paul Ryan and Foxconn Chairman Terry Gou joined President Trump Wednesday at the White House, where he announced the Taiwan-based company will open a manufacturing facility in Wisconsin. Photo courtesy of the White House

WASHINGTON — Donald Trump says Foxconn's agreement to make LCD screen panels in Wisconsin would have never happened if he wasn't elected.

The president announced Wednesday that the Taiwanese technology firm would invest $10 billion in a new Wisconsin plant that could have up to 13,000 employees — and an exact site was not announced but it's expected to be in either Racine or Kenosha counties. Taxpayers would put up a state record $3 billion in government subsidies and incentives, which Assembly Speaker Robin Vos hopes that lawmakers would approve next month.

Vos, Gov. Scott Walker, and other state government and business leaders attended Wednesday's White House ceremony where Walker called the project the largest of its kind in state history, and Foxconn Chairman Terry Gou called it America's first to make complicated LCD screens while reportedly offering wages of about $54,000 a year plus benefits to an initial 3,000 workers. Democrats expressed concerns about the size of the state's subsidy package, which crushes the previous record of $65 million to Mercury Marine to keep its headquarters and a large plant in Fond du Lac in 2010.


Report: GOP senators want public schools to pay more for vouchers

MADISON — The state budget proposal from Senate Republicans would make public schools and their taxpayers cover more of the cost to send kids to private voucher schools.

The Legislative Fiscal Bureau says the Senate GOP would spend $60 million more on private schools in the next two years, for a total of $580 million. More than one third of that total would be covered by lower state aid to the public districts that lose kids to the private schools.

Dan Rossmiller of the Wisconsin Association of School Boards say the affected public schools would have to either cut more spending or raise local property taxes and it would be the school board instead of the lawmakers taking the heat. But Jim Bender of School Choice Wisconsin says the lost public school aid is made up eventually, so it "balances out over time."


Senate rejects ‘clean repeal’ of Obamacare, next steps uncertain

WASHINGTON — The future of Obamacare remains uncertain, after the U.S. Senate said no Wednesday to a "clean repeal" with up to two more years to come up with a replacement.

Wisconsin Republican Ron Johnson voted in favor of simply ending the Affordable Care Act in two years — but seven other Republicans joined all Democrats in voting no, and the repeal was rejected 55-45. A 20 hour debate period was expected to end Thursday, at which time a "vote-a-rama" would take place in which senators could bring up amendments and vote on them.

Wisconsin's Tammy Baldwin and the other Democrats were planning to offer hundreds of amendments, but Minority Leader Chuck Schumer now says his party will not suggest anything more until the GOP majority discloses the final bill it wants to pass.


Report: Foxconn may seek to collaborate with UW on cancer research

MADISON — Making screen panels for TVs might not be the only thing Foxconn does in Wisconsin.

According to the Milwaukee Journal Sentinel, executives of the Taiwanese firm have met with the UW-Madison cancer center about ways they can collaborate on cancer research. Foxconn Chairman Terry Gou lost his younger brother and his first wife Serena Lin to cancer — and he is said to have donated hundreds of millions of dollars to the National Taiwan University's cancer center where the director is a former fellow at the UW, Ann Lii Cheng.

In March, Gou said he was support cancer research using a newly created foundation and a center based in China for the sequencing of human genes. Wednesday, Gou joined President Donald Trump and Wisconsin officials in announcing that Foxconn would invest $10 billion with $3 billion in state incentives for a new LCD screen plant with up to 13,000 jobs, most likely in the southeast part of the state.


Wis. woman’s death triggers State Department alert

WASHINGTON — The State Department is alerting American travelers to watch out for tainted alcohol if they go to Mexico.

The agency has updated its "safety and security" information after Abbey Connor of Pewaukee died in January from a neck injury that apparently resulted from her drinking of tainted alcohol. Connor's brother survived a concussion — their parents paid thousands of dollars to hospitals which they suspected was part of a financial scheme with the hotel where they were staying — and the Milwaukee Journal Sentinel says three dozen travelers reported similar experiences after the news outlet put out a story about this last week.

The State Department's travel alert urged people to drink in moderation, and try to get complete billing and cost information before getting medical care. Officials also say United States citizens who encounter problems should also contact an American embassy or consulate in Mexico.


Nicholson announces bid for Baldwin’s seat

DELAFIELD — Suburban Milwaukee businessman and Marine veteran Kevin Nicholson has announced his bid for the U.S. Senate.

The 39-year-old Republican says he'll run for Democrat Tammy Baldwin's seat next year, saying he would bring an "outsider's perspective" as a "strong conservative."

Nicholson, of Delafield, has spent months laying the groundwork for his first try at public office, while opposing Democrats pointed out his former involvement with their party as a convention speaker and head of the College Democrats of America. Nicholson addressed the subject in his announcement video, saying his military, family, and business experience has changed his political outlook.

Nicholson is expected to have plenty of GOP company in next year's primary, as state lawmakers Scott Fitzgerald, Dale Kooyenga, and Leah Vukmir consider running — along with 2012 Senate hopeful Eric Hovde.


Water heater explosion injures Rock County man

ROCK COUNTY — One person was injured Wednesday morning when a water heater exploded in Rock County.

Television station WKOW reports that the village of Clinton Police Department was called shortly after 9 a.m.about a report of an injured person and a possible fire. When officers and EMS personnel arrived, they found a man with burn injuries from a water heater explosion. The man was flown to UW-Hospital. The cause of the explosion remains under investigation.