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Wisconsin Gubernatorial Hopeful Objects to Luring Tech Firms with Tax Incentives, Targets Foxconn Deal

Bob Harlow has gathered 500 signatures on a petition against Foxconn both online and in person in a campaign he launched a week ago with a goal of 1,000 signatures.

(TNS) -- Bob Harlow, a native of Barneveld, Wis., who intends to win the Democratic nomination to challenge Gov. Scott Walker for the top job in his home state, pins much of his hopes on derailing state approval of a $3 billion incentive package for Foxconn.

“I object in general to the use of tax incentives to lure businesses,” said Harlow, a 25-year-old 2016 graduate of Stanford University in California with a bachelor’s degree in physics.

Harlow, whose previous political experience was an unsuccessful primary election campaign for Congress in California last year in which he garnered 7.4 percent of the vote, said he doesn’t expect his age to be a detriment to his campaign.

He has gathered 500 signatures on a petition against Foxconn both online and in person in a campaign he launched a week ago with a goal of 1,000 signatures.

The fact that his petition to urge the state Senate to reject the proposal made it halfway to its goal in a week “shows that the people of Wisconsin want the Senate to vote no” and that they believe in his policy positions, Harlow said during an interview Wednesday.

Money that Walker has proposed for the incentive package would be spent better investing in the state’s schools and infrastructure, said Harlow, who said he had been canvassing for support for the past few days in La Crosse.

Harlow alleged that Walker’s base of support is anchored in wealthy and special-interest groups, while he is trying to develop a volunteer network.

He advocates repealing Act 10, which, in part, reduced public employees’ pay and ended their collective-bargaining rights, and espouses a minimum wage.

“Walker’s assault on the unions has shut people out,” Harlow said. “They have no seat at the table. The only ones with seats are wealthy donors, corporations and PACs.”

Harlow advocates an eight-point plan, including more universal high-speed internet and creating jobs through repairing and building new elements of the state’s infrastructure, such as a high-speed rail system he calls the Wisconsin Badger Bullet connecting several cities throughout the state with those in other states, such as Chicago and the Twin Cities.

He also favors revamping the state’s health-care access system to make everyone eligible for Badgercare and accept the millions of federal dollars Walker rejected in spurning President Barack Obama’s Affordable Care Act.

Other Democratic hopefuls for the nomination include state Rep. Dana Wachs of Eau Claire, state schools Superintendent Tony Evers and Milwaukee businessman Andy Gronik. Also mulling campaigns are state Sen. Kathleen Vinehout of Alma, longtime Madison Mayor Paul Soglin, political activist Mike McCabe of Madison, former state Reps. Kelda Helen Roys of Middleton and Brett Hulsey of Madison, and Mahlon Mitchell, president of the state firefighters association.

©2017 the La Crosse Tribune (La Crosse, Wis.) Distributed by Tribune Content Agency, LLC.