This week in The Times: Erik Stephens

September 15, 2010

Vitals: Erik Stephens, 26, is a Rockford native who graduated from Guilford High School. After graduating, he attended various trade schools where he earned certification in auto repair. Stephens is a professional auto mechanic. In his spare time, he enjoys watching sports and spending time with his wife.

1. If you could speak with any elected official – local, state, or national – one-on-one, who would it be and what would you say? If I could speak with any of them, I guess I’d speak to [Rockford] Mayor Larry Morrissey (I). First, I’d ask him about his plans to bring more jobs into the region. My wife has been unemployed for almost a year now, and she’s still struggling to find work. Many people want to work, but can’t find jobs, which makes them feel hopeless. Next, I’d ask him how he plans on reducing crime here. It seems like every night another gas station gets robbed or someone gets shot.

2. If you were to move away from the Rock River Valley, what three things would you miss most? I’d miss my family, my friends and fall here if I moved. Fall really is the best time of year weather wise in this area.

3. Do you think five additional surveillance cameras will help curb crime in Rockford? Yes and no, I guess. Cameras serve as a useful visual deterrent, but that alone will not reduce crime here. People who commit crimes aren’t realistically going to stop because the city gets new cameras, but hopefully it will make them at least consider the possibility of getting caught.

4. Do you think President Barack Obama (D) should eliminate the tax cuts put in place by former President George W. Bush (R)? I don’t make enough to get that tax break, but the idea of the rich paying fewer taxes than the poor doesn’t really add up.

5. Question from last week’s “This week in The Times” participant, Amy Spires: What is your favorite fall food? Simple. It’s chili. Nothing is better on a cool day than a bowl of chili.

“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 Sept. 15-21, 2010 issue

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