Saturday August 29th, 2015 8:42AM

Collins town meeting draws small but inquisitive audience

By Jerry Gunn Reporter
GAINESVILLE - From Iran to Benghazi, from catfish to cars and from immigration reform to the budget, it came up Monday night in Gainesville at 9th District Republican Congressman Doug Collins' first town hall meeting since he office in January.

The Congressman from Gainesville had a lot to say about the budget, telling his audience at Riverside Military Academy that Washington reminded him of 'Alice in Wonderland.'

"The reality is it's bad," Collins said. "That's the one thing that people need to understand when they look at the federal government, it's not an easy fix."

Collins diagrammed and commented on mandatory spending, discretionary spending, and, as Collins put it, the 'upside down nature' of the budget as it stands currently. Collins also said federal borrowing for vital services that are listed as discretionary, but should be mandatory, is too heavy.

Collins said it is generally understood in Congress that 'we can't keep doing what we're doing.' To do so defines insanity, he said, adding that the government cannot keep spending more than it makes.

"Revenue is not the problem," Collins said. "Spending is our problem."

He added that while this generation can 'get along and make it' with the current situation, if not remedied, it is going to affect this generation's children and grandchildren.

As a member of the House Oversight and Reform Committee, Collins said he learned about the extensive and expensive departmental inspection of catfish, and a subsidized program for 'green plug-in sports cars' that left taxpayers on the hook for $200-million.

Collins also pledged to work with the Army Corps of Engineers for better management of Lake Lanier to ensure future adequate water supply. He called for consistent and up-to-date management instead of the current Corps plan for the 35-year-old lake.

The audience was sparse but inquisitive. Jennifer Thompson from Gainesville was disappointed with the small turnout but said Collins was an excellent communicator.

"I'm embarrassed like other constituents who wanted more people here, but I think every congressman should be this accessible to his district," she said.

Ray Sigmon from Buford said he got the answers he wanted.

"I got answers that pretty much enlightened me to what's going on here," Sigmon said. "We've got some serious problems and it looks like we've got a start."

Collins holds his second town hall meeting Wednesday at 5 p.m. at the North Georgia Community Center in Ellijay.
© Copyright 2015
All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten, or redistributed without permission.
Missing Ga. bank director arrested in Brunswick
A bank director accused of losing millions of investors' dollars before vanishing last year was arrested Tuesday during a traffic stop in a city in south Georgia.
7:00PM ( 1 year ago )
S&P 500 index has its best year since 1997
The stock market closed out a record year with more all-time highs on Tuesday, giving U.S. indexes their biggest annual gains in almost two decades.
6:56PM ( 1 year ago )
Colorado readies for 'Green Wednesday' pot sales
Police were adding extra patrols around pot shops in eight Colorado towns that plan to allow recreational sales to anyone over 21 on Jan. 1.
1:52PM ( 1 year ago )
Business News
Sex offender held in Hall County for failing to register
A 47-year-old man was booked into the Hall County Jail Tuesday, being held without bond for allegedly failing to register as a sex offender, his second such arrest.
6:09PM ( 1 year ago )
Pharmacy robberies may involve same suspect
Oakwood Police Tuesday afternoon released details in a pharmacy robbery they're investigating, similar to one that happened in the Hall County Tuesday morning.
5:46PM ( 1 year ago )
Victim critical following apartment fire
A 41-year-old woman was in critical but stable condition Tuesday after being rescued from an apartment fire in Forsyth County late Monday afternoon.
3:16PM ( 1 year ago )
Local/State News
Medicaid growth creates gap of 5M without coverage; 409K in Ga.
About 5 million people will be without health care next year that they would have gotten simply if they lived somewhere else in America.
7:30AM ( 1 year ago )
Vandals spray graffiti against Kerry in West Bank
Suspected Jewish vandals set fire to three vehicles in a West Bank village early on Tuesday and sprayed threatening graffiti referring to U.S. Secretary of State John Kerry ahead of his expected visit to the region, police said.
7:28AM ( 1 year ago )
Feds announce test sites for drone aircraft
The Federal Aviation Administration announced six states on Monday that will develop test sites for drones, a critical next step for the march of the unmanned aircraft into U.S. skies.
2:23PM ( 1 year ago )
Week 1: Big wins, tough losses mark full start of 2015 prep football season
The season got started with a bang for some area high school football teams – while others will be going back to the drawing board after a mix of results for northeast Georgia-based programs.
9:02AM ( 19 minutes from now )
Police investigate murder-suicide of parents in Gwinnett
Authorities say the deaths of a Lawrenceville couple are being investigated as a murder-suicide in Gwinnett County.
8:24AM ( 18 minutes ago )
Former Gwinnett sheriff's major convicted in corruption trial
A former Gwinnett County sheriff's major has been sentenced to jail for using his position for personal financial gain.
6:29AM ( 2 hours ago )
Tropical Storm Erika weakens as heads toward Cuba, but leaves 20 dead in eastern Caribbean
Tropical Storm Erika was losing its punch as it drenched Haiti and the Dominican Republic early Saturday, but it left devastation in its path, killing at least 20 people and leaving another 31 missing on the small eastern Caribbean island of Dominica, authorities said.
6:11AM ( 2 hours ago )
Three from metro Atlanta arrested in Gainesville during drug sting
Hall County Multi Agency Narcotics Squad (MANS) agents report the arrest of three individuals in a drug bust in the 2300 block of Browns Bridge Road that took place on Tuesday.
5:59PM ( 14 hours ago )