U.S. Rep-elect Doug Collins, R-Gainesville, has a while yet before he can catch some breaths following 16 months of stiff campaigning throughout Georgia’s newly drawn and heavily Republican 9th District.
Collins, who won the seat in the U.S. House of Representatives on Tuesday night, is looking at freshman orientation in Washington over the next few weeks, organizing a staff and otherwise setting up his office on Capitol Hill.
He said Wednesday he had spoken earlier in the day with other newly elected representatives.
“That’s been good, building connections and working together already,” Collins said. “I’ve worked with some of them before in different states, so that’s a good thing.”
He said he is gearing up for committee assignments “in working with not only the leadership but other members in our Georgia delegation to be part of that.”
Collins, who takes office Jan. 1, moves into national politics after a career at the state level, where he served in the Georgia House as the 27th District representative and floor leader for Gov. Nathan Deal.
He survived a contentious GOP primary that ended with the Aug. 21 runoff defeat of conservative radio personality Martha Zoller, then soundly defeated Democrat Jody Cooley, a friend and fellow Gainesville lawyer, in Tuesday’s election.
Collins said he was disappointed in President Barack Obama’s defeating fellow Republican and former Massachusetts Gov. Mitt Romney.
And generally, about Tuesday’s elections, “There’s not a lot different on Wednesday than there was on Monday, so I think that presents a unique challenge for our country,” he said.
While waiting his turn in Congress, the next couple of months could get interesting with Obama, a GOP-majority House and a Democratic-majority Senate returning to power.
“I think there’s a lot of things they’re going to have to deal with, and I’ll be like the rest of the country, watching as the current Congress deals with those issues,” Collins said.
One of the hottest topics will be the Dec. 31 expiration of assorted tax credits and breaks, popularly known as the “fiscal cliff.”
“In all fairness, I’m not looking very favorably toward a giant solution to everything,” Collins said.
“I think what we will see is maybe working on some areas and probably a good bit of it will be funded until next year, and then we’ll have to deal with it sometime in the spring.”
On Tuesday night, after declaring victory, Collins said that his first concern in his new job is the federal budget.
“We’ve got to quit spending our way into a fiscal oblivion ... and we’ve got to work on getting jobs,” he said. “Those are the kinds of things I worked on in Atlanta. Those are the kinds of things I want to work on in Washington.”
Collins also hopes to sneak in some relaxation time with family before getting on the job.
“I can’t really say enough about them. I’m just really humbled by my wife and my kids — they’ve sacrificed more than I have,” he said.