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Quality Beats Quantity

Binyamin Rose, Washington DC

Georgia’s 9th Congressional district is probably home to no more than 100 Jewish families, yet one of the major legislative efforts its freshman congressman, Doug Collins, shepherded through the House is a bill to ensure Israel remains the Middle East’s predominant military power.

Wednesday, April 23, 2014

You could hear a pin drop on the marble floors of the Cannon House Building, as the House of Representatives is out of session thanks to another one of the season’s endless barrage of heavy snowfalls. Just a handful of offices have their lights on. One of them appears to belong to Georgia Republican Doug Collins, butCollins has a different take. Underneath the bronze plaque on Office 513 bearing his name is a second plaque with an inscription you don’t see on any other office door. “This office belongs to the people of the 9th Congressional District of Georgia.” “It’s my acknowledgement, in a small way, that I’ve been entrusted with this position for no other reason than the 700,000 people in my district said, ‘We trust you to represent us,’” says Collins, who introduced himself with an amiable, “I’mDoug, thanks for coming today.” In reality, I should have thankedCollins. It took me just a short commute on the Metro to Capitol Hill during a break in the recent AIPAC conference, but Collins flew in from Atlanta despite the weather, and the House closure, to keep our appointment, Southern gentility flows naturally from Collins, 47, who worked as a chaplain, a pastor, and a lawyer, and partnered with his wife in her scrapbooking business before winning elective office — although he insists his most valuable preparation for the wars of Washington was his stint in a small-town grocery during his college years. “I learned more about people in those five years in the grocery store than I did anywhere else, especially when people had to bring things back to the store that were broken,” saysCollins. “Working in Congress may not be a direct transactional business but you also have to know how to deal with people who may not agree with you.” Collins’ district covers the bulk of the mountain country of North Georgia. Following redistricting in 2011, the Cook Political Report rates it the fourth most concentrated Republican district in the country. There is only one small Jewish congregation in Dahlonega, so Jewish votes are not on Collins’s radar screen. Yet, as a member of the House Foreign Affairs Committee, he has adopted a strong pro-Israel stance, and promoted faith-based positions on other major issues of interest to religious people of all faiths.

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