Eliot Peace

Georgia is the setting for several high-profile congressional races this year. Normally, strong challengers wait for an open seat before throwing a hat in the ring, or they wait for a presidential election year and try to ride the coattails of their party's nominee.

Not 2006.

In addition to Max Burns' campaign against 12th District incumbent John Barrow, former Congressman Mac Collins is challenging 8th District Congressman Jim Marshall.

Collins declined to run for reelection in an old seat in middle Georgia in 2004.  Instead, he chose to take on Congressman Johnny Isakson in a race to replace retiring Senator Zell Miller. Isakson won. Collins was out of a job.

Yet, lo and behold, the Georgia General Assembly redistricted the Congressional districts. The Republican redistricting process placed Collins' home of Butts County (named for Captain Samuel Butts, a militiaman killed fighting the Creek Indians in the War of 1812 -- not the body part), as well as many of his former constituents into the newly redrawn 8th District with Representative Jim Marshall.

Both Marshall and Collins are successful men. Neither is a career politician. Before running for public office, they achieved significant success in their respective professions. Yet, their paths to Congress were vastly different.

Collins, a Jackson, GA native, never went to college. He started a concrete business after graduating high school and turned it into a ready-mix concrete company.  Eventually, he started his own local trucking company. Collins Trucking Co. is operated today by Mac's two sons. After creating a successful business, Collins served in county-level government, as well as in the Georgia Senate before running for Congress.

Collins has a good record. He beat an incumbent Democrat before; Collins defeated 5-term Congressman Richard Ray to win his first election to Congress. During his twelve-year tenure, he helped balance the budget, supported the 1997 Welfare Reform, and voted to pass tax cuts for working families and small businesses.

Why has Collins decided to run for the 8th District? First, he said that his common sense and twelve years of experience and seniority in the House, he knows he can improve the future for the constituents of his district.

Eliot Peace

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