NAME: Doug Collins
POLITICAL PARTY AFFILIATION: Republican
OCCUPATION: Attorney and citizen legislator in Georgia State House
1) Why are you running for this office?
There are three reasons I'm running in this Congressional race, and their names are Jordan, Copelan and Cameron. These are my kids, and they represent all of the youth in the 9th District that deserve a better future than the one they are currently looking toward. Our country is in trouble, and we need people in Washington who know how to stand up for our conservative beliefs to create a better tomorrow for our children across the United States.
2) Is the first time you have run for political office? (If "no," please explain.)
For the past six years, I have served in the Georgia General Assembly as a State Representative representing portions of Hall, White and Lumpkin counties. During this time I have served as Secretary on the House Appropriations Committee, helping to write, cut and set our state budget. These last two years I was honored to work for our conservative Governor Nathan Deal as his Floor Leader in the House.
3) What qualifications for the office do you bring to the campaign?
I have a culmination of life experiences that, I believe, are beneficial to being an effective member of Congress. For 11 years I served as the preacher for Chicopee Baptist Church. In 2005 at the age of 38, I had another calling and went back to law school. I now practice law and run my small firm in downtown Gainesville. I know how to manage a payroll and make a profit. Furthermore, I've seen how devastating government regulation can be for American business owners.
It's time to get the federal government out of our pockets, off our backs and out of our lives.
Since 2002, I have been a member of the Air Force Reserves and I currently hold the rank of Major. In 2008, I was honored to serve my country on the ground in Iraq. It wasn't easy, but it was one of the most humbling experiences of my life. I would gladly serve again overseas in order to protect my country and our freedoms.
For the past six years I have served as a citizen legislator in the Georgia General Assembly. This past legislative session, I worked as our conservative Governor's Floor Leader in the State House. I am the only candidate in this race with a consistent conservative legislative background. I know how to write a budget and make a difficult vote, because I've been doing it for six years in Atlanta. I've never been afraid to stand up for my conservative values, and I will continue to do the same as your representative in Washington.
4) What do you see as the biggest concern/issue facing the country?
I believe the Chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff, Navy Adm. Mike Mullen, had it right when he said in September 2011, "the single, biggest threat to our national security is our debt." Our tumultuous debt is snowballing and creating a financial burden for future generations that is simply unsustainable. If American families and businesses can balance a budget and pay off their debts, the federal government should have to follow the same rules.
The other major concern we are facing is our struggling national economy and increasing unemployment rate. On June 1, 2012 the United States Bureau of Labor Statistics announced unemployment had increased to 8.2%. We've now had 40 consecutive months with unemployment at or above eight percent -- the number President Obama said would never be reached once his stimulus bill was signed into law. It's time to end cumbersome regulation, allow our free enterprise system to flourish and get hardworking Americans back to work.
5) What do you see as the biggest concern/issue facing the 9th District?
The 9th District needs the federal government to take a lesson from the Georgia legislature and start implementing smaller government and less control on the people. In Elbert County, a granite producer can order stone from China and have it shipped to the United States cheaper than it can be removed from the ground in Elberton. There is something inherently wrong with that. Federal regulations are killing small business, manufacturing and the farming industry that are so vital to economic growth in the 9th District.
This year in the Georgia House, I worked on legislation that provided tax incentives to entice private industries to come to Georgia and invigorate our economy. This legislation, HB 686, has helped industries like Baxter Pharmaceutical come to our state and create 1,500 new jobs and pump over $1 billion into our economy. It's time the federal government followed suit in encouraging rather than discouraging private enterprise growth.
6) What more do you think the federal government can do to end the dispute over water involving Georgia, Alabama, and Florida? (EDITOR'S NOTE: This question was asked and the answer provided before the recent U.S. Supreme Court ruling on the dispute.)
I believe our area needs a Congressman that has actual experience in dealing with the water issue Georgia is facing today. I've dealt with the Corps of Engineers through my service as a citizen legislator representing Hall County for the past six years in Atlanta. Additionally, I've worked alongside our former Congressman and now conservative Governor Nathan Deal extensively on this issue. Through these experiences, I have seen first-hand how the federal government needs to get out of this dispute and let the states come to their own resolution. The State of Georgia owns and upkeeps Lake Sidney Lanier; therefore, Georgia taxpayers should have the ability decide on any major water usage issues Lake Lanier may face.
7) How far would you be willing to go in putting politics aside and compromising, for the good of the country, with the opposition party?
For six years I have worked with my colleagues on both sides of the aisle in the State House to reduce our budget, decrease taxes and create smaller government for the taxpayers of Georgia. I believe experience matters, and I am the only candidate in this race that has a background of being a citizen legislator. During my time in Atlanta, I have never swayed from my conservative beliefs, and the people of the 9th District can expect the same thing from me if elected as their voice in Washington.