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Posted: January 28, 2014 10:00 p.m.

Candidate Collins offers government overhaul ideas

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 yesterday."

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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