This week in The Times: Genevieve Borich

Gen-WVitals: Genevieve Borich, 29, is a graphic designer for the Rockford Area Economic Development Council. Borich is from Iowa, where she graduated from Ankeny High School before completing her undergraduate work at Iowa State University. She later completed her graduate studies at the University of Illinois, and proudly refers to Rome, Italy, as her home away from home.

1. If you could choose any elected official – local, state or national – to speak with one-on-one, who would it be, and what would you say? President Barack Obama (D). A president’s primary job is to set the bar higher for a nation than it would on its own. This is why we are a republic. I want to tell him to stop with the shenanigans and announce we are Repowering America (100 percent clean energy in 10 years). I think maybe he’s forgotten we didn’t know how to get to the moon in 1961, but we did. I mean, I guess he was only 2 months old. But really, the sheer economics of business leaves us no option. Bankers, CEOs and insurance giants are realizing investing now in addressing climate change will make them more money longterm. Plus, it’s the right thing to do. History proves innovators and early adopters win. It’s embarrassing big business like Exelon is getting it before Congress is (they pulled out recently of the U.S. Chamber due to its supposed position on EPA regulating clean air, water, etc.).

2. If you were to move away from the Rock River Valley, what three things would you miss the most? iPhone boy, Jules and Bahia. I don’t get out much, I know.

3. Do you feel the addition of a public option would ultimately help or hurt the U.S. health care system? Switzerland’s universal health care model has no public option; it’s private, and their health care costs have risen 60 percent in the last decade. So, yes, we need a public option. I’d be fine with a trigger option where private insurers are given a time frame to lower costs and various other metrics by a deadline, and if they can’t, a public option kicks in. People forget how expensive obesity and disease is on our economy through indirect costs. Not to mention, I believe it’s a moral obligation for the country.

4. With Rockford’s unemployment rate at 15.2 percent, what do you think could be done to put more Rockford citizens back into the workforce? I think the Rockford region has a great opportunity to start getting inventive (again, with the early innovators and adopters) with going green while putting people back to work. In the 1930s, a large number of people were hired to cut down elms and build bridges; let’s do this, but make our infrastructure sustainable. For example, hire people to turn all public roofs green and collect rain water, convert empty lots into urban farming, install solar panels and windmills on all public property, and expand the recycling program to be like Seattle’s where all food is municipally composted.

5. Question from last week’s “This week in The Times” participant Anthony Hunt II: Hypothetically speaking, if Rockford was suddenly allocated more money for its 2010 budget, what offices or departments should receive priority funding? Public works. See my answer in question 4.

“This week in The Times” is a weekly survey of people selected by The Rock River Times staff. The column does not accept unsolicited submissions.

From the October 7-13, 2009 issue

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