On the cam­paign trail

Con­gres­sional can­di­date Mike Collins shared his plan to over­haul Wash­ing­ton D.C., in­clud­ing re­peal­ing Oba­macare.

The Covington News - - FRONT PAGE - GABRIEL KHOULI gkhouli@cov­news.com

Con­gres­sional can­di­date Mike Collins has a 10-point plan to over­haul Wash­ing­ton, D.C., and ease the anger and fear he hears when he talks to Ge­or­gia res­i­dents.

Collins stopped by Covington on his tour around Ge­or­gia’s 10th con­gres­sional dis­trict and said he wants to re­peal and re­place the Af­ford­able Care Act, over­haul and sim­plify the tax code, cut the fed­eral bud­get, and cut cor­po­rate tax rates, among other goals.

He’s one of six Repub­li­cans and one Demo­crat seek­ing to re­place U.S. Rep. Paul Broun, R-Athens, who is giv­ing up his seat to run for the U.S. Se­nate. The 10th dis­trict in­cludes the eastern half of New­ton County.

“A lot of my time is spent lis­ten­ing. Peo­ple, they want to tell you. They’re up­set, scared and mad,” Collins said Fri­day.

“Most of them are wor­ried about this debt; they’re wor­ried about their job. There’s no cer­tainty from a busi­ness per­son’s stand­point. They can see that. Most em­ploy­ers I know aren’t do­ing any­thing be­sides what they did yester- day.”

Collins hangs his hat on his busi­ness ex­pe­ri­ence, in­clud­ing 24 years as co-owner of Collins In­dus­tries, a truck­ing com­pany that spe­cial­izes in trans­port­ing build­ing prod­ucts; he also owns three other small busi­nesses, ac­cord­ing to his web­site.

“…The one defin­ing fac­tor is the fact that for the past 20 years plus I’ve been ac­tu­ally out there ex­pe­ri­enc­ing the in­crease in taxes, the over-bur­den­some reg­u­la­tions. That’s where we get back to the fact I’m the only per­son who owned and op­er­ated a busi­nesses for 20-some years in this en­vi­ron­ment,” Collins said. “This coun­try was built on small busi­ness. And I know how to fix it. And that’s what the big dif­fer­ence is.”

Collins, who em­ploys 82 peo­ple, said the Af­ford­able Care Act is crip­pling job cre­ation. The past two years, he said, his in­sur­ance costs have gone up 23 per­cent and 20 per­cent, and this year, the in­sur­ance com­pany ini­tially pro­posed a 40 per­cent in­crease, which is still be­ing ne­go­ti­ated.

He pro­posed elim­i­nat­ing in­di­vid­ual state man­dates, al­low­ing con­sumers to pur­chase plans across state lines, re­form­ing per­sonal in­jury law (in­clud­ing plac­ing lim­its on mon­e­tary awards), and en­cour­ag­ing more health sav­ings ac­counts.

Collins is fan of the Fair Tax, a pro­posal that would re­place the fed­eral in­come tax with a na­tional sales tax. He also sup­ports a flat tax as an op­tion for tax re­form; a pure flat tax taxes all in­come at the same rate, re­gard­less of how high or low it is.

He sup­ports in­creas­ing the el­i­gi­ble age for So­cial Se­cu­rity as life ex­pectancy in­creases and ty­ing ben­e­fits more to need.

Collins pro­posed lim­it­ing fed­eral reg­u­la­tions on banks, break­ing up Fan­nie Mae and Fred­die Mac into small pri­vate banks, and re­duc­ing the En­vi­ron­men­tal Pro­tec­tion Agency and Food and Drug Ad­min­is­tra­tion. At the same time, Collins wants to cut cor­po­rate tax rates from 35 per­cent to 15 per­cent.

Asked if the goals are re­al­is­tic, Collins said he be­lieves the cli­mate is chang­ing with “a new gen­er­a­tion of lead­ers” ris­ing from around the coun­try.

A na­tive of Jack­son, Collins holds a bach­e­lor’s de­gree in busi­ness ad­min­is­tra­tion from Ge­or­gia State Univer­sity. He is mar­ried to Leigh Ann, and the cou­ple has three chil­dren. He is the son of for­mer U.S. Rep. Mac Collins.

For more about Collins, visit over­hauldc.com.

Other can­di­dates in­clude fel­low Repub­li­cans Jody Hice, a pas­tor and 2010 can­di­date for Ge­origa’s 7th Con­gres­sional Dis­trict be­fore re­dis­trict­ing; busi­ness­man and re­tired Army of­fi­cer Stephen Simp­son; 11-year state rep­re­sen­ta­tive and busi­ness owner Donna Shel­don; at­tor­ney Gary Ger­rard; and Brian Slowin­ski, for­mer chair­man of the Columbia County Repub­li­can Party. Cur­rently, the lone Demo­cratic can­di­date is Athens at­tor­ney Ken Dious.


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