Who are you?
I am a third generation Southside resident, and I have lived here my entire life. I graduated from Jefferson High School in 1998, then earned both my Bachelor’s Degree from Judson University and my Master’s from Northwestern University in Communication. My family and I have deep roots in South Rockford. My Grandparents were Rev. Samuel and Irene Brown, my Mother is Helen Brown, and my Aunts are Janice and Sally Brown. Rev. Brown was Pastor at Washington Park Church and Associate Pastor at Bethel Baptist Church, and he worked at Gunite Foundries for 27 years before his passing. I live two streets over from where they raised their family, and I am honored to give back to our community that has given my family so much.
What position are you running for?
5th Ward Alderman
Why are you running?
I am running to use my professional experience working in government to help my neighbors have a better quality of life. Things like getting a pothole fixed or having snow removed from your neighborhood can take a long time if you don’t know how to navigate bureaucracy.
What led you to this point in Rockford and your career?
I have focused my professional and volunteer work in areas where I know I can have a lasting, positive impact on my community. I am on the boards of Northwest Community Center and the Wabongo Leadership Council. I also volunteer on the City of Rockford Human Services Scholarship Committee, the Community Foundation Scholarship Committee, and I Co-Chair the Community Engagement Committee for the Family Peace Center. I worked for Congresswoman Cheri Bustos and Transform Rockford. In both roles, my job was to listen to residents and help them improve their lives and neighborhoods. Serving as Alderman is another way for me to give back to my community.
What do you see as major issues in your ward?
There needs to be meaningful investment in South Rockford, and we need to find a new investor for the Barber Colman building. We need to support our local businesses and work together to beautify our community and make it a more desirable place to live.
What do you hope to accomplish if you win?
I want to represent all of the diverse residents of the South Rockford community. Working together with my neighbors, I will bring new economic investment into our local and minority owned businesses, create a responsive and accountable local government, and invest in greenspace to make our community even more beautiful. Working together, the Southside will no longer be left behind!
Gabrielle Torina, Candidate for Rockford City Council Ward 5