Here’s my most recent bio, which I wrote up for the League of Women Voters candidate forum on October 29, 2014:
Fred Horch is a small business owner and passionate advocate for Maine’s people and environment. His company, Spark Applied Efficiency, helps businesses find smarter ways to save energy. Fred and his wife life in downtown Brunswick where they are raising their three children. Fred is a member of Rotary, on the board of the Mid Coast Hunger Prevention Program, and active in many community organizations.
This year he helped lead the Climate Solutions Expo & Summit, which brought 1,000 people to Augusta in March. Last year he contributed to a study on sustainable year-round agriculture in Maine. Among the many other projects and policy issues he has been involved in, Fred was the coordinator for Maine Interfaith Power & Light when it introduced a “green” electricity offer statewide.
Although deeply concerned about Maine’s future and a “frequent flier” at legislative hearings in Augusta, Fred is a problem solver not an activist. He is known locally for F.W. Horch Sustainable Goods & Supplies, a store he created and operated on Maine Street in Brunswick for several years. Before moving to Maine, Fred worked as legal counsel for TriNet Services, an Internet technology company, as a legal editor for Nolo Press, and as a summer legal clerk for Pacific Gas & Electric, a major California utility.
He earned his undergraduate degree in political science with the concentrations in international relations and computer science from Swarthmore College, and his law degree from Boalt Hall, the University of California, Berkeley.
I’m married to Hadley Wilson Horch, a professor at Bowdoin College. Our family lived in Japan for Hadley’s sabbatical during the 2011 to 2012 academic year. I tried valiantly but unsuccessfully to learn Japanese and to start my next business venture while living in Tokushima, Japan. Still working on both projects now that we are back stateside.
A similarly valiant (in my mind, at least) but so-far unsuccessful effort has been my attempt to serve in the Maine Legislature. Supported by a wonderful group of local friends and active Green party members from Brunswick and surrounding towns, I ran as a Green Independent candidate in both 2010 and 2012. Sadly, we were not able to convince enough of our neighbors and fellow citizens to give me a chance to represent our community in Augusta. But, we’re back at it in 2014!
At the moment, when I’m not thinking about my next business move, collecting signatures for my political campaign, or shuttling my kids to their activities, I’m busy volunteering as the co-coordinator for Climate Solutions, which is shaping up to the be the largest climate change event in Maine’s history, to be held in Augusta on March 12, 2014. I’ve also joined a few local organizations and boards, including the Brunswick Rotary Club and the Midcoast Hunger Prevention Program.
In my past life, I worked for a few years as a corporate attorney and project manager for a fast-growing consulting company in the North Carolina triangle area. I earned my law degree from U.C. Berkeley (known then as “Boalt Hall”) and joined the North Carolina bar after Hadley and I moved there so she could attend graduate school at Duke. I graduated from Swarthmore College with a degree in political science and concentrations in international relations and computer science. I have had the chance to experience life in a communist country, studying for a semester in college in Moscow in 1990 before the breakup of the Soviet Union, and in a socialist country, studying for a semester in high school in Grenoble, France.
Having experienced capitalism, socialism and communism first hand, I would describe my political evolution as starting from a position of academic interest growing to a sense of alarm that compels direct engagement. I used to believe nuclear power was a good idea, that climate change was a distant threat, and that in general the United States’ two-party political system will lead to good outcomes for all members of our society. I now believe that we can and should fix some serious structural problems with our economic and political systems. The fact that we continue to subsidize our nuclear and fossil industries is a symptom of a deep and potentially catastrophic dysfunction in our decision-making abilities as a society.
On that cheery note, I would like to direct your attention to two organizations that I hope you’ll join me in supporting. The first is Maine Interfaith Power & Light. I worked there a decade ago when we were selling green electricity. I’m delighted that they are still fighting the good fight. The other group is 350 Maine, an upstart organization inspired by the work of Bill McKibben. This group has been responsible for some of the most impressive environmental rallies Maine has seen in recent decades. Here’s hoping they can rattle some cages and get more people to pay attention to our generation’s most serious challenge.
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