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Chris Collins wants to go to Washington to restore the American Dream

By Howard B. Owens

America is in a terrible mess and Chris Collins thinks he's just the man to go to Washington and try to help fix it.

He wants to put people to work, correct the trade imbalance with China and see the United States become energy independent.

"The country is at a tipping point," Collins said. "I think we’re headed in the wrong direction. Simply stated, I want to do my part to help restore the promise of the American Dream for our children and grandchildren."

Collins, who served as Erie County executive from 2008 to 2011, is being challenged in Tuesday's GOP primary for the NY-27 congressional district against David Bellavia, an Iraq War veteran and Batavia resident.

The self-made millionaire is also on the Conservative line for November's general election and limits most discussion about the race to incumbent Kathy Hochul and President Barack Obama.

Collin's vows to run the race through November, even if he loses the GOP primary.

For Collins, the main issues in the race are jobs, less spending in Washington, energy indepdence and repealing Obamacare.

On jobs, Collins says small business owners have lost confidence in the American government and until confidence is restored, they won't invest in research and development, expansion or making capital improvements.

"A lack of confidence is the wet blanket today on job creation," Collins said.

To restore confidence, Washington needs to stop spending so much money.

"We need to send the message that we will balance the budget in the next 10 years," Collins said. "I think 10 years is something we have to insist on. The idea that we can wait 30 or 40 years is complete nonsense."

On taxes, Collins said the corporate tax rate is too high. He wants it reduced to 25 percent.

"It’s currently 35," Collins said. "We certainly can’t increase it, as Obama and Hochul want to do. We have to cut the tax rate to be the same as it is around the world. We are the highest-taxed nation in the world and we wonder why jobs are going overseas? We are disincentivizing them from investing in the United States."

What Collins wants to see is a "fairer flatter" tax, with fewer deductions and no more than 25 percent on any individual or business.

On trade, Collions wants the U.S. to stand up to China.

"The key words there are China cheats," Collins said. "They cheat by manipulating their currency, which gives them, I believe, a 30-percent cost advantage over the American manufacturer. They steal our intellectual property.  And they don’t open their own markets to our manufacturers."

The response, Collins said, is tarriffs until China capitulates and trades as an equal partner with the U.S.

"I believe China needs us more than we need them," Collins said. "They need our consumers. Quite frankly, we don’t need them."

When it comes to trading with other countries, however, Collins is open to any trade that is fair and free.

"We do live in a world economy and we can’t erect barriers and say the United States is not going trade with the rest of the world," Collins said. "That’s just nonsense. We can not only compete, we can win."

On energy, Collins said the U.S. needs to stop relying on the Middle East for its oil.

"We drill more off shore," Collins said. "We drill more on federal lands. We use safe nuclear. We go after our shale gas. We can be energy independent in 10 years."

On foreign affairs, Collins said except in dealing directly with Al-Qaeda, he doesn't believe the U.S. should go it alone. While during the trade discussion, Collins said he was against interfering in another country's affairs, when it comes to military intervention, he said the U.S. should only participate if it's part of an organization such as NATO.

"When it comes to us being the world’s policeman, the world’s this, the world’s that, guess what -- our cupboards are bare," Collins said. "If the civilized world has a problem with Syria, if we have a problem with other countries, then that should be a joint effort, it should not be the U.S. going alone."

Asked whether the military budget should be trimmed, Collins said, it's up to the generals.

"It’s not my call," Collins said. "I would say you look to your military commanders, you say what is our mission and you look to the experts on how to achieve that mission in in the most cost-effective way, making sure they’ve got the tools they need to accomplish their mission.

"Whereas our current president has tried to micromanage the military. He’s replaced commanders in Afghanistan because they don’t agree with his policies.  I think you need to look to your experts."

Clearly, Collins dislikes Obamacare.

He said Obama wants to cut $500 billion from Medicare, which, he said, would decimate Medicare Advantage.

Also, he said, Obama would trim $350 million from reimbursements to doctors, which Collins believes will encourage doctors to stop seeing Medicare patients.

"They don’t have to take Medicare patients. So in the supply-and-demand world, if you’re busy what do you do? You usually elminate your least profitable customer," Collins said. "So the thought that the federal government can set the reimbursement rates for doctors and cut 30 percent out their income and nothing’s going to change is just nonsense. Right there and then you’ve got to get rid of Obamacare."

The healthcare reforms Collins said he would push would be tort reform and open up competition in insurance by allowing policies across state lines.

Collins also argued that modern healthcare is expensive for a reason.

"People now don’t die from prostate cancer, breast cancer and some of the other things," Collins said. "The fact of the matter is, our healthcare today is so much better,  we’re living so much longer, because of innovations in drug development, surgical procedures, stents, implantable cardiac defibrillators, neural stimulators -- they didn’t exist 10 years ago. The increase in cost is not because doctors are making a lot more money. It’s what you can get for healthcare, extending your life and curing diseases."

On Medicaid, Collins said he favors block-granting enough federal Medicaid funds to ensure poor people have basic medical care, but beyond that, it's a state issue and each state should decide what kind of Medicaid program it wants.

The problem in New York, with the state taking a bigger and bigger share of local tax dollars to support Medicaid, is a New Tork state problem, not a federal problem, Collins said.

New York, Collins said, spends three times more on Medicaid than California and Texas combined, which together have 60 million residents compared to New York's 19 million.

Previously, Senate Majority Leader Dean Skelos told The Batavian that the high cost of Medicaid for counties in New York was the fault of the federal government, but, Collins said, New York offers Medicaid patients every conceivable option for care, which significantly drives up the cost.

"I’m not surprised Albany would try to blame it on Washington," Collins said. "The blame belongs right where it is, in Albany."

One of his big objections to Obamacare, Collins said, is that he doesn't think the government should dictate how people live their lives.

"The thought that government should be making decisions for us is against every grain in my body," Collins said.

Asked, then, "Are you a libertarian?"

Collins said, "I have a libertarian bent, yes."

Asked, then, if he favored legalizing marijuana, Collins said, no.

"I just don’t think we should legalize drugs," Collns said.

Well, that's not letting people make decisions for themselves.

"On that piece, I suppose," Collins said. "We have to outlaw murder, too.

"The government's role is to create laws," Collins added. "If I believe in a smaller limited government, that doesn’t mean I believe in a lawless state.  Government does have a role to play in passing laws."

Collins had also previously said he believes in state's rights, so we asked him if the federal government should interfer in a state like California, which has legalized medical marijuana.

"Whether it's seat belt or motorcycle helmet laws, I do believe in what the Constitution would say on the importance of states rights. The people who live in that state should be able to decide what laws they want. The federal government has over stepped its bounds over and over again relative to state rights."

PHOTO: Submitted by the Collins campaign.

Daniel Fabian

Collins will never get to Congress because he will never defeat Kathy Hochul. Why would this district pick another elitist, out of touch politician who will just embarrass constituents with bad behavior and scandal? Republicans should vote for David Bellavia... he's not going to just tow the party line. He's proven that he's not afraid to stand up to the party. That's the kind of congressman we need - someone who will stick to their principles and won't be corrupted by special interests. You can pretty much guarantee that Collins would happily sell all of his votes as a congressman.

Jun 24, 2012, 10:41pm Permalink
Jeff Allen

"Collin's vows to run the race through November, even if he loses the GOP primary." In other words, once the people of my party have spoken, I will force David Bellavia to waste valuable resources waging a two front campaign virtually handing Kathy Hochul the election. I think that speaks volumes to motivation.

Jun 25, 2012, 6:00am Permalink
Michael Pullinzi

Collins is the endorsed Conservative Party candidate. He has the Conservative Party line in the general election regardless of the Republican Primary outcome. My prediction... he will win the Republican primary, as he should, as he is the most qualified and experienced candidate. Bellavia needs to earn some experience before running for Congress. Anyone can put out "position points" when they have no record to run on or experience to back up what they may or may not do. Prior to running for Congress, I had never heard of Bellavia in our Community. Just because he lives here now, does not make him the local candidate. Our past Republican Congressional candidates have always had a long record of experience where they earned voter trust. That is a standard of importance, and Collins clearly is the most experienced candidate in this election.

Jun 25, 2012, 6:51am Permalink
Chris Charvella

Collins is a moral degenerate. He's a lying, misogynistic, entitled twit with a superiority complex the size of Texas. Voters in Erie County tossed him unceremoniously from office last November for all of those reasons and more.

Jun 25, 2012, 10:34am Permalink
John Roach

If the alleged "lap dance" comment is true, and that is an if, how does that translate to your accusation he hates women. And if true, how does that translate to "degenerate" as opposed to stupid?

Jun 25, 2012, 11:41am Permalink
John Roach

Well documented?

People say and write stupid things at times. You once wrote about shoving something up people’s rear end. Does that make you a sex pervert or a possible sex offender? That was well documented. Are you a violent, hatful person?

If we are to you apply the standard you apply to Collins for an alleged comment, then you bare watching, right?

Jun 25, 2012, 12:39pm Permalink
Chris Charvella

Yes, John, well documented. The rest of your argument doesn't bear the dignity of a response.

I'm sure Mr. Collins would appreciate you making his disgusting behavior on several different occasions over the course of many years in public life all about me and a hyperbolic statement I made once.

You're getting worse at this as you get older? You feeling OK?

Jun 25, 2012, 1:10pm Permalink
C. M. Barons
John Roach

The way it should be done, showing policy issues. None of the unsubstantiated claims that he hates women or is degenerate. Just documented issues.

Jun 25, 2012, 1:50pm Permalink
Chris Charvella

On Planet Roach, hyperbole as a writing style and degrading a woman in public are the same thing. At least they are when you're just here to pick a fight for no good reason.

You're making this personal with me John and I'm telling you to knock it off right now.

Jun 25, 2012, 1:59pm Permalink
John Roach

Just want you to back up what you say.

Even if, and it is an if, he did say soemthing that stupid, it does not raise to the level of hate that you claimed he has for women. Or that he is "degeneate". Other than the one alleged incident what else have you to back up your claim?

Jun 25, 2012, 2:12pm Permalink
Chris Charvella

The public record backs up what I say. I don't need to recreate it for you. Moral degenerate is the term I used to encompass his entire personality and all of his despicable actions, not just the single despicable one.

I don't have to re-report every single incident of Collins being a horrible human being for you just because you want to fight with me. You're at a computer, Google it and stop wasting my time.

Jun 25, 2012, 2:18pm Permalink
Lorie Longhany

And even more specifically the Amherst Times has all of it listed in a nice, neat easy to follow blog entry with links so John can see them all easier.

Don't forget his problem with the Jewish community.
<blockquote>"From asking for lap dances in the State Capitol to comparing the Jewish Speaker of the Assembly to Hitler and the Anti-Christ, we know Mr. Collins does not think before he speaks. From cutting in the parade line to march before veterans to parking in handicapped spots, we know he has an outsized sense of entitlement. And considering he held private business meetings in his County office, accepted illegal campaign contributions, and forced the firing of a mother of four who supported David, we know he has blurred vision when it comes to the boundaries of law.
Some people just aren’t fit for public office – like Chris Collins."</blockquote>

Jun 25, 2012, 3:22pm Permalink
John Roach

I didn't say Collins did not say or do stupid things. Or was even a good County Exec. But do you agree with Chris that he hates women and is a moral degenerate? Chris, without backing up his claim, said to google his behavior. I did, and other than policy issues, the stupid statement about Sliver while trying to make a point and the unsubstantiated lap dance accusation, I still do not see where he hates women as Chris claims. If you do, please tell us how?

Lorie, you tell us how he is a "moral degeneate". The things you mention may be a very good reason not to vote for him, but Chris went over the line and can not back it up. He is just running off with the mouth.

And to be clear, while I can not vote in the primary, I hope David wins.

Jun 25, 2012, 3:39pm Permalink
Lorie Longhany

I did not say "moral degenerate" so that is between you and Chris.

I do believe that asking a Republican woman (or any woman for that matter) for a lap dance in exchange for a seat at a state of the state address pretty much puts him in the category of sexist, male chauvinist asshole.

Jun 25, 2012, 3:51pm Permalink
Chris Charvella

Lies + misogyny + racism = Moral Degenerate.

The lap dance comment isn't unsubstantiated since the reportage regarding it was attributed to named sources who were present for the incident.

You're just here to argue with me John, because apparently you have nothing better to do. Get a hobby.

Jun 25, 2012, 3:57pm Permalink
Jeff Allen

Just want to make sure that the standard is consistent, if one asks for and receives oral sex in the White House from someone other than his wife, does it make that person a sexist male chauvinist asshole? If Lies + misogyny + racism = Moral Degenerate, then that definition fits President Clinton as well. Somehow it always seems that when a Republican engages in sexual misconduct, it is reprehensible, yet when a Democrat does it is no one else's business because it doesn't affect how they do their job.

Jun 25, 2012, 5:56pm Permalink
Jeff Allen

Didn't know Democrats were voting in tomorrows primary, they sure have a lot to say about the candidates in an election they won't be participating in. Save some of the manufactured disgust for the actual election.

Jun 25, 2012, 7:24pm Permalink
C. M. Barons

1) I can't gauge the familiarity between Collins and the woman he suggested lap dance to. They would have to be pretty chummy for the comment to be acceptable banter. If a stranger took the chair I was holding for my female companion, and upon her arrival requested a lap dance (note: lap dance, an act engaged in between an "exotic dancer" and a client for the express purpose of sexual gratification- not to be construed with sitting on someone's lap); I'd likely give the slob a fat lip. Collins went beyond making a social faux pas; he demeaned the woman, objectifying her in a sexual context. This is more offensive than the Paladino incident in the strip club. There is no justification for Paladino's conduct; at least discussion of sex acts is generally tolerated in a strip club.

2) If the debate boils down to whether Collins is a degenerate or just plain stupid, I don't think either option inspires voters weighing the credentials of a potential member of Congress.

3) Regardless of party affiliation, the winner of this primary moves one step closer to representing all of us. Given the decided GOP number advantage in this county, there is good cause for non-Republicans to weigh in. I (for one) do not want to be saddled with another Erie County hack like: Lee, Reynolds, Paxon, etc.

Jun 25, 2012, 8:48pm Permalink
Peter O'Brien

And Bellavia didn't try to do the same thing last time he ran for office? He screwed some paperwork up and that's the only reason he wasn't on the ballot in November when we replaced Chris Lee

Jun 26, 2012, 8:44am Permalink
Chris Charvella

Jeff, my disgust isn't manufactured. I have a lot of respect for Mr. Bellavia and less than none for Mr. Collins. I want the person we send to Congress to be worthy of our respect, no matter who it is.

Kathy Hochul and David Bellavia are both respectful and respectable people. I want our choice to be between two individuals we can be proud of whether we agree with them ideologically or not.

Jun 26, 2012, 8:54am Permalink
Howard B. Owens

If Republicans don't want non-Repubicans having a voice in their primary, they shouldn't have a public primary. They should have a private selection process at their own expense instead of foisting it off on the rest of the taxpayers. Why should I be paying for you to select your candidate for the general election?

Jun 26, 2012, 12:18pm Permalink
Dave Olsen

Since Chris Collins has a self-described "libertarian bend" he should agree with you Howard. (chuckle) I on the other hand am a bent libertarian and I do agree wholeheartedly.

Jun 26, 2012, 2:18pm Permalink
Peter O'Brien

I would have no problem with that Howard, and personally I think it should be only those who are active members of the party that choose it.

But that's not the way it works so I am thankful for the requirement to be a register republican to vote.

Jun 26, 2012, 3:03pm Permalink
Jeff Allen

I agree Howard, I support open primaries. But until then if you aren't eligible to vote in the election, don't be sniping about the candidates. More than half of the people posting disparaging remarks about Collins were ineligible to vote for or against him. If my fellow Republicans are short-sighted enough to put through a well funded, establishment guy as opposed to a fresh, genuine, hardworking people's candidate, then we only have ourselves to blame for the status quo, but that is our battle to wage not the Democrats.

Jun 26, 2012, 3:48pm Permalink
Howard B. Owens

Jeff, there's a chance that whoever wins this primary will be our next representative in Congress. We all have a stake in it. If a Democrat or an independent can make a helpful comment that sways a Republican to vote for A rather than B or B rather than A, don't we all benefit?

I just don't buy that non-Republicans should have no say in this election, even under current rules. To me, that's not democracy (democracy is not defined only by voting, but also by speech).

Also, after private primaries my second choice is the new California system -- all candidates on a single ballot regardless of party affiliation and the top two move on to the general. You could have two Republicans, or two Democrats, or a Conservative and a Working Families or any combination thereof.

In that way, non-affiliated voters are no longer disenfranchised from the primary process and party affiliation becomes secondary to qualifications and ability to connect with voters and their concerns.

Jun 26, 2012, 4:37pm Permalink
Dave Olsen

I like your second choice the best, Howard. Except for no general election. Winner take all. If noone gets over a set percentage, than you have a run-off of whoever got over another lesser set percentage. Much more democratic. The party bosses would oppose the hell out of it here in NY.

Jun 26, 2012, 5:59pm Permalink
Charlie Mallow

Michael, I couldn't agree more. Until you earn some stripes serving at the local level, there is no telling what the guy will do under pressure. The same people who rip Obama for inexperience are the same ones ready to support an untested candidate. If I were voting, I would select the guy who has the experience and a real chance to win.

I also really like the idea of open primaries picking the two top vote getters to run head to head.

Jun 26, 2012, 7:12pm Permalink
Jeff Allen

Howard, you make a valid point about members of both parties assisting each other by making "helpful comments" in a closed primary race. Please help me pick out the "helpful comments":
"Another genius who will wait for the Koch brothers (via GOP higher ups) to tell him what to do."
"Collins is a moral degenerate. He's a lying, misogynistic, entitled twit with a superiority complex the size of Texas"
"Chris Collins....his well-documented scumbaggery?"
"pretty much puts him in the category of sexist, male chauvinist asshole."
"Lies + misogyny + racism = Moral Degenerate."
My point stems from the fact that we are still, like it or not, under a closed primary system, therefore comments like those I quoted above from people who are ineligible to vote in the contest lack credibility and are not helpful to anything but advancing gutter politics.

Jun 26, 2012, 9:07pm Permalink
Lincoln DeCoursey

This was the best political photograph posted to The Batavian all season.

Congratulations Mr. Collins on your well-deserved and hard-fought victory.

Nov 7, 2012, 2:12am Permalink

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