Collins, Fontaine Square Off at Forum

Republican candidates for the 9th District U.S. House race in northeast Georgia say jobs would be their main focus if elected.

Incumbent Doug Collins and challenger Retired Gen. Bernard Fontaine both appeared at Thursday’s political forum at the Schaefer Center in downtown Toccoa.

Both of the candidates were asked what is the biggest issue facing the 9th District at the present time and both said jobs.

On that front, Fontaine said the government needs to working on meeting infrastructure needs in communities.

“The way I see to handle that, as we have done in the past, is block grants,” said Fontaine, who said the money needed to be put to good use.

“So we end up with good jobs here and not just shovel-ready projects to pave another mile of road that we have had in the past that has gotten us nothing,” said Fontaine.

Collins said he does not feel things like block grants are the answer.

He said instead Congress needs to focus on things that he says are killing job growth, like the Affordable Care Act.

“Businesses are sitting on the sideline, not knowing what the costs are going to be,” said Collins.

Collins then went onto list multiple problems with the act in his eyes, such as the botched website rollout.

“In the fall, you are going to have another wave when the companies who signed up early are now going to have the face the fact that they are under Obamacare and either decide to keep the jobs or keep the health insurance,” said Collins.

The two also talked taxes and the Internal Revenue Service.

Collins said he supports the fair tax, a consumption-based tax, and looking at other ways to simplify the tax code to help businesses invest. He also said Congress needs to take steps to control and reign in the IRS.

Meanwhile, Fontaine said reigning in the IRS is part of a bigger need to reign bureaucracies in throughout government.

The winner of the Republican primary will face Democratic candidate Dr. David Vogel in the November election.