U.S. Treasury Secretary Jacob J. Lew held a town hall meeting at NOVA’s Alexandria Campus on November 23 to discuss currency redesign and the new $10 bill. The lecture hall was filled with NOVA students, faculty and staff who arrived prepared to ask questions about currency design and to offer opinions on what woman they would like to see honored on the next family of bills to be issued.
Lew said the Department of the Treasury wants a new family of bills with the theme of democracy, and they would like to see an inspiring woman depicted. He said they had put out a call for ideas and suggestions and received responses via letter, web communication and Twitter. However, he is also visiting institutions of higher education to solicit feedback from students. NOVA was the first community college on the “tour.”
There were many insightful questions raised, among them the question of why the need for a redesign. Lew said the design needs to change with some regularity to stay ahead of those with nefarious motives. The top priorities for any new currency are to make it safe, difficult to counterfeit and durable. The cost of changing the portrait on currency is dramatically less than the cost of ensuring the security features are in place.
The first bill up for redesign is the $10 bill. Someone asked if Treasury was looking to remove Alexander Hamilton or to add a female portrait and have several $10 bills depicting different people, like the quarter. Lew indicated all ideas are still in play. Liberal Arts Dean Jimmie McClellan pointed out that Alexander Hamilton was a great economist; however, he was not in favor of democracy so perhaps out of step with the theme.
Possible women candidates ranged from Abigail Adams to Harriett Tubman. One attendee suggested Dr. Jean Braden, a beloved Alexandria Campus faculty member who passed away in January.
Lew was gracious and grateful for the feedback. He asked people to provide their ideas, and encourage others to do so as well, at firstname.lastname@example.org.