Launching guv bid, Flynn knocks Foxconn deal, company’s ‘Chinese values’

Former state Dem Chair Matt Flynn formally kicked off his bid for guv Tuesday, telling WisPolitics.com he wants to restore Wisconsin’s progressive tradition.

“We need a change of direction,” Flynn said in detailing his vision for the state. “It’s all fine to say what’s bad with (Scott) Walker and (Donald) Trump. That’s not enough.”

Flynn also said in the interview right-to-work is the first thing he’d try to repeal if elected, followed closely by Act 10. He also defended his work on behalf of the Milwaukee Archdiocese after it was sued by those abused by priests and derided Foxconn, which has pledged to build a plant in Racine County and employ thousands.

He said Walker “got snookered” in offering the Taiwanese manufacturer a $3 billion state incentive package, arguing the guv and his team were not qualified to negotiate such a significant package.

Flynn said he would have taken a harder line with the Taiwanese company and criticized its practices. He pointed to news reports the company installed nets at a Chinese plant after employees attempted suicide by jumping off buildings, as well as company CEO Terry Gou referring to employees as animals.

Flynn said the company has “Chinese values, which I think are bad in business.”

“I love Chinese people. They’re wonderful people. I love Chinese food,” Flynn said. “I don’t like Chinese laws. I don’t like their business practices, and I don’t like their water and air.”

State GOP spokesman Alec Zimmerman said in response, “Matt Flynn’s comments — just like his mistreatment of sexual abuse victims — shows he’s not a serious candidate for governor or one who can be trusted.”

As Flynn launched his campaign, the state GOP knocked him for representing the Milwaukee Archdiocese after it was sued by victims who had been abused by priests. That includes the website www.FlynnForWisconsin.org that includes the line, “We can’t trust Matt Flynn to keep us safe.”

Flynn said the scandal “pained me more than I can tell you.” Still, he was proud of his work for the archdiocese, saying his efforts and those of others led to an end of the practice of transferring priests accused of abuse to other parishes without warning of past allegations.

To pay for transportation costs, Flynn said he would consider bringing back the indexing of the gas tax, though possibly by a smaller amount than what was in place 11 years ago before it was repealed. Then, the tax was adjusted each April 1 based on changes in the Consumer Price Index.

Flynn said he has ruled out tolls, one idea that has been floated in the Capitol. He also said he would consider redirecting other revenues to transportation, though he said his priorities for the general fund are education and health care.

“I’m insistent that we pay for the roads,” he said.

See Flynn’s announcement video.

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