Quinn picks Erica Borggren, ex-Petraeus aide, for veterans agency

Christopher Wills
Chicago Tribune
Springfield, IL

Erica Borggren is only 30, but she's already been valedictorian at West Point, a Rhodes Scholar, a company commander in Korea and a high-level aide to Gen. David Petraeus in the Middle East. If Gov. Pat Quinn gets his way, she'll also be director of the Illinois Department of Veterans' Affairs.

Quinn announced Friday that he was nominating Borggren, a former Army captain who grew up in McHenry, to lead the department. The appointment doesn't become official unless the state Senate approves it.

Quinn said he expects unanimous approval given Borggren's record and the praise she's received from Petraeus, the former commander of U.S. forces in Iraq and Afghanistan and incoming head of the CIA. Quinn said Petraeus has called Borggren "brilliant," "dedicated" and "full of initiative."

Borggren said the Department of Veterans' Affairs is already doing excellent work with "a lot of firepower" that she hopes to continue.

"As a daughter of Illinois and as a veteran myself, I can think of no more exciting or worthwhile endeavor than this one," Borggren said at a Chicago news conference.

Borggren was valedictorian of the 2002 class at West Point and a Rhodes Scholar who got a master's degree in comparative social policy at Oxford University, Quinn's office said. She served in the Army's Medical Service Corps in South Korea, eventually commanding a company there.

Borggren then deployed to Iraq to serve as a speechwriter and aide to Petraeus, earning a Bronze Star for her work. She returned to Illinois in 2009 but continued working for Petraeus long distance. 

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