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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 Kelly Gallaher’s answers for the Mount Pleasant presidential race.

Kelly Gallaher

What position are you seeking?
Mount Pleasant Village President

How long have you lived in Mount Pleasant?
Thirty-two years


Retired Art Museum Education Curator & Artist-in-Residence, Spokesperson for A Better Mt. Pleasant

Kelly Gallaher
Kelly Gallaher

What motivated you to seek office in Mount Pleasant?
I have had the opportunity to work with some great public servants. Their dedication and integrity have shown me what real community leaders can accomplish. These lessons inspired my efforts, over the last seven years, to hold our local officials accountable and to ensure transparency and fairness at Village Hall.

Last year, when I worked with community volunteers to circulate the petition to stop the ordinance to extend Village Trustees terms in office, I talked to so many people who were frustrated and disappointed in our current leadership. They wanted a fresh start and new leadership. They wanted to be treated like neighbors, not a nuisance by Village Hall.

My opponent has run unopposed in his last two elections — he has basically appointed himself. Voters should always have a choice on Election Day. It was time for me to step-up and run.

I’ve been fighting for a better Mt. Pleasant as a resident, I am ready to lead it as Village President.

What do you think Mount Pleasant’s strengths are?
Mount Pleasant runs from Lake Michigan to I-94. We enjoy city, suburban and agricultural environments. Mount Pleasant can look very different depending on where you are standing within the Village limits. It is always what I have enjoyed most about living here. We have the best of all worlds.

That we are situated between two great cities with direct access to our greatest natural resource — water — makes Mount Pleasant a very special place to live.

In talking with residents, I have learned that they are very keen to preserve this uniqueness. They are in no hurry to become the next Oak Creek or Pleasant Prairie of seamless franchises and constant traffic. I think it is essential for our community leaders to allow residents to have a voice in how we move forward and really listen. That’s the kind of community I want to live in. That’s the kind of community I want to lead.

What do you think Mount Pleasant’s weaknesses are?
Out-of-control spending and debt.

Since my opponent took office in 2017, village spending has increased nearly 32% — but even that figure is low because the Village Board is charging salaries and fringe benefits to the Tax Incremental Districts. If you factor them back in, spending has increased closer to 40%. This is outrageous and unsustainable.

In 2023, we will pay $17.2 million dollars in debt service for the failed Foxconn development — $10.7 million in interest alone. For a village of 26k, that kind of debt represents financial malfeasance.

Our Village Board has built a financial house-of-cards that is in real danger of crashing down upon us all. Their current plan is to hope that someone steps in and saves us from the mess they made. We are negotiating from a position of weakness and failure. This is not a coherent development strategy.

If elected, name three priorities you would want to focus on during your term.
1. Reduce spending and debt. We cannot possibly lower the tax burden for residents if Village Hall is on an uncontrolled spending spree.
2. Renegotiate and revise the Foxconn contract and eliminate the $32k a month Foxconn Project Director contract.
3. Restore public accountability and transparency.

If you are proposing any new programs in Mount Pleasant, how would you pay for them?
I will restart Foxconn public information meetings. Residents deserve to know what we have borrowed, what our contingency plans are if they default, and what Foxconn’s plans are for the 1,000 acres of land we purchased for them. In the fall of 2022, I held my own sold-out Foxconn town hall at Gateway — people want to know what is going on after years of silence from Village Hall. The cost is only in time — well worth it.

We will return our hotel and room tax dollars to the Real Racine Tourism Bureau, and disband the “Enjoy Mount Pleasant” tourism entity which, at present, has one poorly-viewed website and no social media presence — no Facebook, Instagram or Twitter.

Every hotelier I have spoken with wants to go back to Real Racine. “Enjoy Mount Pleasant” was an ill-conceived and selfish decision made by the current Village Board which has decimated the tourism efforts for the entire region. The cost is value added and will benefit everyone.

If you are proposing cutting services in Mount Pleasant, please explain why that would be a priority.
I will eliminate the Foxconn Project Director position contract for which we pay $32,000 a month. This position has no job description and no oversight. The current Project Director is not responsible to report his time or activities. He has been given no benchmarks for goals or success. While his contract states that he is paid on an hourly basis, he submits an invoice, month after month, for exactly $32k no matter how many days or holidays are in the month.

Questions about the lack of oversight have been raised for years and my opponent has not only failed to adequately address them, he gave the Project Director a raise after losing the Intel, Fisker and Oshkosh Defense potential projects.

There are entities — RAMAC, RCEDC, WEDC and the Milwaukee 7 who are dedicated to economic development and we will utilize all of their professional expertise to attract appropriate development to our community going forward.

Did the Foxconn project benefit the taxpayers in Mount Pleasant? Please explain your reasoning.
Foxconn is the largest failed publicly-funded economic development in Wisconsin history, and possibly in the United States.

We all hoped that Foxconn would become a transformational development for our community. But, the truth is, there were legitimate questions about the feasibility of the proposal from the very beginning that were ignored by local officials. My opponent knew within weeks that Corning was not going to build a glass factory here, and that the factory Foxconn promised was never going to happen.

He kept spending money and gaslighting the public anyway. He likes to say that Foxconn is the largest taxpayer in the village. What he doesn’t say is that Foxconn is also our biggest liability.

Starting in 2024, Foxconn is obligated to begin making $30M payments every year for the next 24 years, or we risk defaulting on the hundreds of millions we borrowed. An international lawsuit and foreclosure will take years. My opponent will not hold them accountable. I will.

Why should people elect Kelly Gallaher?
I am a YWCA Woman of Distinction, and the winner of the Phyllis Dresen Spirit of Democracy Award. I have served on the boards of Racine Family Literacy, Adam Drug Court, KRM Commuter Rail Task Force, AAUW and Victory in Peace Gang Diversion Program — just to name a few. 

I am committed to this community and to forging lasting collaboration and cooperation with our municipal neighbors.

As Village President, I will work for residents first, not wealthy developers or private foreign corporations. I will stop the spending spree at Village Hall and the draining of public funds by unaccountable Foxconn consultants. 

Residents deserve an open and honest local government, where their input and concerns are valued. I will work everyday to make that happen and I would be honored to have your vote on April 4th.

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