Rep. Collins Stops, Speaks in Toccoa

9th District U.S. Representative Doug Collins touches on a number of topics during a visit to Stephens County.

Collins spent time in Toccoa Thursday, holding a “Coffee with the Congressman” event at the Java Station on Big A Road.

He held a similar event in Clarkesville earlier in the day on Thursday.

Collins said both events went well with a wide variety of attendees.

“It was really good,” said Collins.  “Sometimes we agreed, sometimes we disagreed, but that is part of the process.”

In Toccoa, one attendee asked Collins about his vote against an amendment that would have stripped funding for the National Security Agency program that collects phone records of people in the U.S.

Collins said it was hard to vote against the amendment, which failed in a close vote, but says he felt it was too broad in scope.

“We feel like it would have hurt overseas investigations and would not have gotten at the actual thing most people were thinking about,” said Collins.  “I would rather take the program and make it workable and have a system where we protect people here and do what we need to do overseas.”

Collins also said that he did not feel it was a good idea to make such a large change to a major program after debating it for 12 minutes on the House floor.

The topic of jobs and economic development also came up in Toccoa.

Collins said he feels government is creating too much uncertainty for the business community.

“Businesses do not operate like governments,” said Collins.  “Governments kind of go one month at a time.  Businesses are trying to plan one, two, five, ten years down the road and we are not providing that stability (for businesses to plan) right now.”

To put a stop to that, Collins said government needs to work more with business.

“Businesses do not inherently care if a D or a R represent them,” said Collins.  “In the end, a business such as the coffee shop here has to make a profit and if you are standing in the way of them making a profit, that is a problem and government does that on many levels.”

He also said it is important to try and focus on things that Congress can accomplish.

Collins referenced lowering regulations where bipartisan support can be found as a good example of that.

Congress returns to Washington next month and Collins said two issues likely to be at the forefront are the funding of the Affordable Care Act and immigration reform.