Congressman Collins addresses Warsaw government class
Jun 7, 2013
In The News
Warsaw seniors in Lynn Saxton’s Participation in Government class learned firsthand about the workings of the House of Representatives and the Republican view on present government issues from Congressman Chris Collins last Thursday.
Collins represents the 27th District, which includes eight counties, including Wyoming County. He explained that the 27th District is 5,200 square miles – larger than Connecticut – and represents 105 towns with a total population of 770,000.
Each state is allowed one representative for every 700,000 people, and each state must have at least one representative. Based on this, the House has 435 members, and it takes 218 votes for a majority.
A representative works four days a week, and every four or five weeks has a week off. However, this doesn’t mean a week to play golf, Collins said; rather, it is a time to connect with constituents, such as speaking to school classes, Boy Scouts and other groups.
Collins explained representatives also serve on committees within the House, and he serves on the Agricultural Committee and the Small Business Committee. As a member of the Small Business Committee, he was also appointed chairman of the Healthcare and Technology Subcommittee.
Collins went on to discuss the present issue of divided government, in which Republicans control the House while Democrats head the Senate and presidency. He used the passage of a bill as an example, explaining that the House develops a bill and the Senate a companion bill.
If the bills are different, the two try to iron out the differences. If they're successful, the bill is sent to the president, who either signs or vetoes it. If vetoed, it comes back and must be passed by a super majority. If there is no agreement, that is known as a gridlock.
The difference in political views, Collins added, is that Republicans want less government control of individual lives while the Democrats want more. He illustrated this by comparing and contrasting the two views on several issues, primarily the Farm Bill and balancing the budget. This opened the floor to questions from the students.
The first question was from Hayden Newcomb, who asked about Collins’ family background. He responded that his family wasn’t rich, and he worked to pay his own way through college. He earns his income buying bankrupt companies and turning them around.
Newcomb also asked if anything could be done about gridlock, to which Collins responded having one party control of the House, Senate and presidency would solve the problem.
Collin Plowe asked about the gun control issue. Collins responded that he believes the federal government should keep out of the issue, based on the Tenth Amendment, and that the NYS SAFE Act is “absurd.” He said he owns several guns himself and has a carry permit.
Justin Meyer said he was impressed by Collins’ background in mechanical engineering and business, the same fields Meyer wants to pursue at RIT. Meyer also said he believes that because Collins was successful in the private sector, he will also be successful in government and would make a good president.
Tyler Perry said it appeared to him that Collins is more for the common man, one who paid for his college career and didn’t have a millionaire father like a lot of politicians.
At the end of his presentation, each student received a “challenge coin” designed by Collins. It is based on the military challenge coin, which identifies a person's unit, he explained.
Since Collins is an Eagle Scout, his coin is emblazoned with the Boy Scout fleur-de-lis, the Cub Scout motto “Do your best,” the Boy Scout motto “Be prepared” and a list of the eight counties in the 27th district.