9th District U.S. Representative Doug Collins visits Stephens County.
Collins made two stops in the area Friday as part of a district work week.
One of those stops was Eaton Corporation to take a tour with other local officials of the facility that makes plumbing equipment for the aerospace industry.
Eaton Plant Manager Bill Hayford said that he appreciated the opportunity to show Collins and the other officials on hand the quality of work done by the approximately 150 employees at the facility.
“I wanted him to see the pride and the engagement that the employees here in Stephens County and the north Georgia area have in what they do here at the Eaton Aerospace plant,” said Hayford. “They are very proud of what they do and we are proud of them because they do a great job here.”
Collins said he came away very impressed with the Eaton plant.
He added the pride they take in their work is evident.
“You come to plants like this and it is what I believe in,” said Collins. “It is what I believe government ought to look for, people who get up every day and they take pride in their work and they enjoy telling people about it. They are not asking for a handout. They are just asking (to) let us work. When I come to plants like this, it just shows and that gives me a boost to go back into the Washington mix and say that people are depending on you (Congress).”
Prior to his tour of the Eaton plant, Collins spent time earlier Friday morning at the Java Station Coffee Shop on Big A Road to meet with constituents.
Collins said the main concern he heard dealt with government spending.
“When I was able to talk about where we really were in the country as far as our debts and our deficits and the income disparity between what we bring in as a government and what we spend as a government, to some of them it was eye-opening,” said Collins.
The big spending issue right now in Washington, D.C. is the $85 billion in cuts known as the sequester.
Calling it the President’s sequester, Collins said that he does not feel the across-the-board approach is appropriate.
“I think the President’s sequester was a wrong-headed approach,” he explained. “I think it was done at a time of frustration in which you have indiscriminate, “meat-cleaver” kind of cuts. The House has already, last year on two separate occasions, passed different measures that would have done this differently. The Senate chose not to take it up and the President chose not to get behind it.”
Collins went on to say that there are other ways to make the cuts, but adds he feels that the federal government needs to make more long-term systemic changes to the budget process.
“I think some of it has to take place in some of the ways we could save through changes to Medicare, changes to programs that are the big drivers,” said Collins. “We can make long-term systemic changes to that, but it has to be something we are willing to take on and willing to stick with. There are certain areas of defense that can be cut. There are certain areas of other programs that we just have to (look at).”
Collins said that he thinks what makes people upset, from a Democratic perspective, is these are the first real cuts.
“We are talking actual cuts, not cutting growth, but actual cuts,” said Collins. “I think that is the thing that all of a sudden has Washington taking notice.”
The Hall County Republican also said that the federal government needs to become more flexible and adaptable and points to Eaton and other businesses as an example of that flexibility and adaptability.
Collins said other issues came up during his stop in Toccoa, such as the operation of Corps lakes and regulatory reform.