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Letter: Collins should welcome input from constituents in his district
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Most of the Hall County Democratic Party’s 2018 ticket smile for pictures during the party meeting March 14, 2018, at the Gainesville Civic Center. From left in back are Patrick Anderson, Cynthia Lyne Shubert-Jett, Alana Watkins, Josh McCall, Maria Palacios and Stephanie Lopez-Burgos. The party qualified seven candidates for public office this year, more than the past four election cycles combined.

On Monday, March 12, I attended a Hall County Democratic Party meeting at the Gainesville Civic Center. I was happy to see we had a representative of The Times present. I was also happy to see The Times ran a story on our meeting a couple of days later.

At this meeting, a friend of mine and one of the more productive members of the party, Michelle Sanchez, announced a meet-and-greet with some of our local candidates. She made a point of being inclusive and pointing out that the forum would not be a strictly partisan affair. After all, there are many issues on which we can all agree, and it is always beneficial to meet as many candidates as possible.

At least, I would think so. Obviously our 9th District Rep. Doug Collins looks at the issue differently. Instead of praising his constituent for trying to play an active role in her republic, and encouraging potential voters to educate themselves about the issues and the candidates, Collins took to Facebook to demonize the local opposition. “The Democrats actually admitting to trying to fool voters! Wow”, our congressman wrote on his page. 

I should not have to point out to the honorable Rep. Collins that the Democratic Party is not part of any menacing Axis of Evil. Ms. Sanchez was not, despite what our representative would have voters believe, rubbing her hands together and laughing maniacally while proposing some nefarious political plot. 

We were discussing an opportunity for the public to come together and discuss important issues with potential officeholders. It seems the sort of activity that a congressman would praise. It seems Rep. Collins would be proud to have residents of his district whom are engaged in the political debate.

Perhaps, though, we are seeing what our republic has become. Perhaps this is a small example of how our representatives would rather have their constituents stay uninformed and believe anyone with a different opinion is “trying to fool” them. Unfortunate.

Perhaps, though, our honorable congressman misspoke after a long day of serving the public. Perhaps he would like to publicly apologize to Ms. Sanchez, and the local Democratic Party, and join us in an attempt to bring our community together. I, for one, hope so.

Jeff Casper

Gainesville

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