2010 Candidate Interview: Neal Collins (R-SC)

Neal Collins is a 27 year old, conservative attorney who’s running in the 3rd Congressional District of South Carolina. Earlier, I had discussed him and the race. Following that, Collins approached me to talk about the race. He told me that he had been running a door-to-door campaign and according to him, “I have not spent one dime on consultants or staff…I, along with volunteers, are door knocking every day. It doesn’t take money to reach people. In fact, we need representatives who run away from money, not run towards it. The “experienced” politicians have all accepted PAC money. I have not and will not.” He was also willing to answer a few questions of mine on the race and his platform. His answers are below.

Matthew Newman: What made you decide to run for Congress?
Neal Collins: I grew up in a mobile home subdivision. I also rode the school bus every day. It would pick our subdivision up and would go to rural ranch houses, apartment complexes and nice neighborhoods. I saw the wide range of opportunities for people. I was fascinated from a young age how law and politics affects everyone’s daily life. I vowed that I would obtain a good education, return home, and help the most people that I could. I feel I could do the most good for our community in this position.

MRN: With health care reform across the news and on the minds of many Americans, what free market based reforms do you feel would most benefit the American people?
NC: First and foremost is allowing individuals to deduct their health insurance. I believe the reason health care costs have risen is because the government has been involved through the employer based system. The employer based system discourages competition and provides no incentive to cost compare. Second, open the health insurance markets across state lines.

MRN: On your website, you mention that you “…support a high-speed rail through the Third District.” How would this impact your legislative agenda?
NC: Let me be clear, the federal government should not deficit spend. I am a proponent of a balanced budget amendment. We, as Americans, must agree and demand this or future generations will suffer consequences. That being said, once we have our budget, we do like every family and business – we prioritize. For me, infrastructure is a role of government. The federal highway system brought economic success across every region in America, especially in our District. I believe the same can be true for a high speed rail. It is forward looking right now, but we need forward looking representatives.

MRN: What is your opinion on HR 1207, the legislative proposal by Congressman Ron Paul to audit the Federal Reserve?
NC: I not only support auditing the Federal Reserve, but also believe every governmental agency should be audited on a routine basis.

MRN: If you had to rate President Obama’s first year in office, what grade would you give him and why?
NC: I would provide the grade of a “D” mainly because of his fiscal irresponsibility. A budget deficit of $1.42 trillion last year, projection of at least that much this year, and next year’s budget proposal with a projected deficit of $1.6 trillion are all examples of irresponsibility. From our founding until 2000, we had a national debt of $5 trillion. In just 3 years, we will accumulate a debt of $4.5 trillion. However, neither party is to escape blame. I’m a frustrated Republican because we had the power and we allowed power to corrupt.

MRN: As a brother of two siblings with disabilities, I was very interested in your discussion on the topic on your website. You mention that you support “…increased accessibility for people with disabilities…” and “…empathetic training for the community.” What, if any, legislation would you propose to support these goals?
NC: Rather than federal involvement, I would use the position as a platform to promote empathy and awareness of people with disabilities. I would support local charities and non-profit organizations. I want my next representative to be of the community and this is one example where I would be involved.

MRN: You come into this race as an underdog without the political experience of some of your primary opponents. How do you expect to fare in the primary and will you support the eventual nominee if you do not receive the nomination?
NC: We had obstacles when I announced July 4, 2009. However, over the past 7 months, I have proven that I am the hardest working candidate. I have a message that resonates with the constituents, and we have the largest grassroots organization. The “experience” of the other candidates who currently hold office has equated into deficits and government growth. In addition, this is a unique year. People do not want the status quo. Our state has grown at unprecedented levels and we are battling yet another deficit. There is a distrust for experienced, career politicians. With this, I expect to win. I wouldn’t continue a campaign and have all the supporters volunteering their time if I didn’t believe so.

MRN: One of your primary opponents, State Representative Rex Rice, supports the “Fair Tax.” What is your opinion on the “Fair Tax?”
NC: I support a simpler and more fair tax code. My mom works for H&R Block. I studied income tax in law school. The Code is ridiculous. The “Fair Tax” is a good idea. However, I have two issues with it: (1) there would have to be a constitutional amendment so that we wouldn’t be taxed both on income and consumption; (2) we would have to ensure that no deductions or special interests could complicate the sales tax. I can see special interests becoming involved and the new “Fair Tax” quickly becoming
a growing sales code. Rather than the monumental task of amending the constitution, I lean towards scrapping the complexities within the current Code to a simple, defined tax structure.

I thank Neal Collins for his honest discussions on the issues. Collins appears to be very down to earth and has some interesting ideas on the issues. If he doesn’t win the primary, I hope this is not the last we hear from Collins. We need motivated, younger conservatives ready to get out there and fight the good fight.

Cross posted to Old Line Elephant