New Ninth District Representative Doug Collins is settling in to his new job.
Collins spoke with AM 630 WNEG Friday, the day after he was sworn in to serve as the Ninth District Representative in the U.S. House, representing Stephens County and northeast Georgia.
Collins said being sworn into the U.S. House was a very poignant moment.
“It is a culmination of a lot of work on the campaign side,” said Collins. “It is just a privilege to serve.”
Collins said the transition to Washington is going well.
In addition, the Hall County Republican said his staff, which he has assembled, is in the process of setting up his main District office, which will be in Gainesville. As for elsewhere, Collins says that at least for the time being, he will have a mobile office with staff traveling the district regularly.
On the legislative side, Collins has already co-sponsored two balanced budget amendments.
Sponsored by Virginia Republican Representative Bob Goodlatte, both pieces of legislation would ensure the federal government is held responsible for balancing its budget through a Constitutional amendment, prohibiting Congress from spending more than it receives during the fiscal year.
Collins said co-sponsoring such legislation right away was important to him because it was something he campaigned on.
“People just do not understand how Washington can continue to do budgets in which they do not balance,” said Collins. “Regular citizens, hard-working taxpayers have to go home every day and balance their books. They have to watch what they spend, know what they take in. In Georgia, we have a constitutional amendment that says you have to have a balanced budget. It’s not an option.”
Spending, debt, and deficit are currently the main topics in Washington as legislators begin to again debate raising the debt ceiling.
Collins said that in any debt ceiling legislation, he wants to see major spending reform.
“This past year, we are on track for the third highest revenue year in history,” said Collins. “Think about that for a second. Yet, we are still discussing debt and deficits. We have got to have major spending reform. We have got to have a major look at our programs that drive our debt. If we don’t do that, shame on us. That is what I am going to be pushing for.”
He went on to say that everything must be on the table, including programs like Medicare, Medicaid, and Social Security.
Meanwhile, Collins said another big issue he wants to focus on in Washington is the status of Corps lakes like Lanier, Hartwell, and Russell.
“We are going to be getting with our friends in South Carolina and working with the Corps,” said Collins. “It is not just a resource issue. It is an economic issue and that is what I am going to be pushing to say. We cannot continue the process of what we are doing right now that really takes and destroys economic value. It also destroys the watershed process based on outdated, outmoded plans. If we continue to do that, we are going to continue to end up in the same place. What is great about the 9th District is that we are unified. We do have Lake Lanier, Hartwell, and Russell, and the rest that are one congressional district in the northeast Georgia area.”
Collins said he knows many other issues will come up through his committee assignments, which include Judiciary, Foreign Affairs, and Oversight and Government Reform. He again said he feels good about his committee assignments moving forward.