We try our best to have respect for our elected officials. It is often thankless work and most of them run for office with the best of intentions and sincerely try to be good representatives of the people who have elected them.
There are exceptions, and Tony Collins, who represents House district 95 covering parts of Newton, Rockdale and Gwinnett County, is one of them.
In his 2008 campaign, he did not participate in any forums or debates that we can find, despite repeated and numerous invitations, did not respond to questionnaires, was very difficult to reach for interviews. He reportedly spent next to nothing for his campaign. In one forum, he even came all the way up to the door to hand out his campaign brochures and left without a word; candidates from nearly all the other active races took the time to show up and speak to the voters. He was elected to office doing nothing and won solely because he had a "D" after his name and rode in solidly on President Obama’s coattails
Since then, he has not done much of note.
We have taken to calling him "No Show" Tony because of his lack of attendance at any community events and functions that we know of. Rockdale’s other representatives have made themselves available and can be seen at occasional functions.
Up until last week we had never met Mr. No Show. We finally did for a few moments at the state capital last week, only because a local lobbyist went and got him; the fact that he was even there surprised us.
We invited him to meet with us to explain his lack of participation in district affairs and to give us an explanation on his political non-activity in his district. He talked briefly with the editor of The News, Michelle Kim last Friday.
You can read our story on Collins in today’s paper or at rockdalenews.com
She challenged him on his financial difficulties and the loss of his house by foreclosure. He refused to comment on that and how it might reflect on his ability to serve his constituents. He offered his medical condition after having a kidney transplant in 1999 as an explanation for his inability to make himself available — an explanation not previously cited.
Other area politicians have also experienced chronic medical conditions while in office, such as fourth congressional district Representative Hank Johnson, who recently confirmed he has hepatitis C. Despite where you might stand on his politics, Johnson can be seen at local events and is available to local residents.
Toney Collins stated that he plans to run again for this seat.
The residents of district 95 deserve better.