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Racine County Eye asked candidates to fill out a questionnaire so that our readers could learn more about them. These are Eric T. Martinez’s answers for the Mount Pleasant election.

Eric T. Martinez

What position are you seeking?
Village of Mount Pleasant Trustee #5

How long have you lived in Mount Pleasant?
1.5 years


Small business owner/Entrepreneur

Eric T. Martinez
Eric T. Martinez

What motivated you to seek office?
Quite honestly, my fiancé encouraged me to run when she read Kelly Gallaher’s Facebook post in A Better Mt. Pleasant seeking candidates to run for Village Board. Kelly and I agreed to meet over coffee to get acquainted, to explore the Trustee role and responsibilities, and to discuss the current state of Mt. Pleasant. Although we are from different political parties, there was an immediate chemistry between us as we shared similar concerns about many issues affecting the Village. Kelly encouraged me to run as she felt my extensive business background was a valuable asset for the Village Board, particularly given the Foxconn situation.

After I met Kim Mahoney and Travis Yanke, our running mates, I was eager to work with residents who held common values and shared the same “kitchen table” concerns like, Village Board transparency and accountability, crime reduction, low property taxes, spending control, reasonable development, and effective Foxconn oversight.

What do you think Mount Pleasant’s strengths are?
A significant strength is Mt. Pleasant’s location, found between the great Midwest cities of Chicago and Milwaukee. That said, Mt. Pleasant maintains a small community feel with a good balance between business and residential development against a suburban and rural landscape. Our community boasts easy access to Lake Michigan and many local parks that provides an attractive quality of life. I am interested in preserving and improving this unique and attractive community.

What do you think Mount Pleasant’s weaknesses are?
A clear weakness is the desperate lack of redevelopment for some blighted areas of Mt. Pleasant mostly ignored because of the current Board’s narrow focus on developing Mt. Pleasant’s I-94 frontage. That’s an easy opportunity to chase but has led to residential overdevelopment in advance of achieving the employment growth promised from that investment.

This frontage development – i.e., Foxconn – led to risky TID financing (TIFs) that materially increased financial exposure to Mt. Pleasant residents if Foxconn does not meet any of the promised outcomes. That said, the current Village Board continues to “double down” with TID financings for more residential development to the exclusion of other Mt. Pleasant areas located near the Lake that can benefit from redevelopment.

Another weakness is the lack of investment in Mt. Pleasant’s existing park system. Many parks are in need of updating and improvements including, but not limited to, bicycle paths, fitness stations, public restrooms, and updated sports fields/courts.

If elected, name three priorities you would want to focus on during your term.
1. Improve Village Board communication, transparency and accountability.
2. Return Mount Pleasant to Real Racine Tourism Bureau and terminate the Mount Pleasant Tourism Commission.
3. Terminate the Foxconn Project Director contract and save the Village $384,000/year.

If you are proposing any new programs, how would you pay for them?
No new programs proposed.

If you are proposing cutting services, please explain why that would be a priority.
Not proposing cutting services.

Did the Foxconn project benefit the taxpayers in Mount Pleasant? Please explain your reasoning.
There isn’t a simple answer. The business thesis to partner with a private business to bring jobs and to develop infrastructure is a sound and reasonable strategy. Who doesn’t want jobs and improved infrastructure for its community? The current infrastructure development (e.g., roads, sewer, power) is essential for large-scale business development in Mount Pleasant and taxpayers are benefitting from improved roads between the Village and I-94.

However, the project could have benefitted from serious due diligence to understand the market and company-specific risks. In the expediency to close Foxconn, there were many parts of the transaction unsecured which increased the risk of failure. For example, the project was riskier when the glass company did not participate in the transaction; a clear warning about the project’s inherent risks. Now, the 13K job creation target is not nearly achieved. If Foxconn defaults, the project risks will outweigh the benefits, if any, at significant taxpayer expense.

Why should people elect Eric T. Martinez?
I am a problem solver. I have been fixing distressed/underperforming companies by improving performance or repurposing the business and its assets into profitable sectors. I have a successful track record of taking business strategies and executing them in a practical way to make them a reality for the benefit of all stakeholders (customers, vendors, employees and investors); I am confident I can apply these skills to local government and Mount Pleasant can benefit from my expertise.

As a resident and your neighbor that shares your values and concerns, I will turn many of your interests into action. Also, being new to Mount Pleasant, I bring a much-needed fresh perspective to the Village Board.

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