Leading the recovery effort

Hayden and Sandra Collins

It is a concern to every family that they could be in the path of a disaster so epic that it destroys their very home and the fiber of their family.  Such acts of God have happened here in Northwest Georgia, and  I have been part of the leadership responding to natural disasters – directing units on the ground and commanding situations – to help not only find loved ones, but also to start families and communities back on the road to recovery.  I was recognized by the Georgia General Assembly for my service when a tornado struck Bartow and Floyd counties, and in the past few months I have shared some of the lessons learned from this experience with the commissioner candidates who have joined me on my radio program, as we talked about how being prepared, knowing our resources, and building up our business and community relationships can make us strong and resilient when we face dangerous situations.

In recent years, we have found ourselves in the midst of an economic disaster that also threatens our homes and our families.  And as with natural disasters, we cannot afford to weep and wail and wait for the government to show up with a government-focused fix for it.  Donald Rumfeld, the Secretary of Defense under George W. Bush, once said in a press conference: “You go to war with the army you have, not the army you might want or wish to have at a later time.”

It is up to us – now and not at some later time – to assess our situation, our resources, and come up with a plan for recovery.  In stepping forward as a candidate to represent the new District 52 in the Georgia State Senate, I have described my plan for unifying our efforts across the district to support our businesses and attract new ones, making the tough decisions to move beyond indecision and divisiveness, building up communication and alliances between government and the private sector to identify our common objectives and achieve our common goals.  I have proposed new energy solutions to make our business environment even more attractive, and I support a range of innovation in education that will equip our district’s residents to take the best advantage of these opportunities.

In my campaign for this Senate seat I have focused on setting a good example and leading by example – as a candidate as well as on behalf of my community – upholding the credibility of this region, avoiding the mud, and fighting for the people.  As a Conservative, I will protect the citizens of the state of Georgia from the state of Georgia.  At each debate, I’ve spoken from my heart.  I have no consultants, no influence from outside the district, and no strings attached to either the Senate or the capitol.  I am free to represent District 52 for District 52, because I have a vested interest in our success together.

With the right leadership, our recovery can start now and not at some later time.  It will take energy and worldwide experience with new ideas – to find business-oriented solutions, not government solutions.  We have an alternative to the transportation funding quagmire of the 411 connector through growing our airport.  As the Allies held Bastogne from the air during WW II, we can hold Rome and supply Rome from the air, using the airport we have – we too can adapt improvise and overcome – with our own resources.  I recognize these opportunities from my leadership experience that stretches from combat zones to conference tables, as well as to the kitchen tables in my own neighborhood. I know the cost of freedom.  My family knows the cost of freedom.  Every day in the news, we see how we have to defend our freedoms.  You can judge my character by the service, not only to the community, but to our nation, as I have had the honor of commanding and serving with heroes.

With my wife Sandra, I have also been a fighter for Georgia’s children, taking them into our foster home where they would not know hunger or fear. And I’m a fighter for our community and for business, dedicating my time and experience to help local businesses fight for their own success.

It’s time for recovery, with a new plan and new alliances.  And no mud.

Let’s make it a mandate to change the way we’re doing business.  Let’s make it a mandate to have business get involved in education, and let’s make it a mandate to find new ways to provide energy to our small businesses, while attracting new businesses and enhancing our work environment in Northwest Georgia.  Let us take up this mandate for our communities, for our homes and our families.  I stand ready and willing to accept this charge.  I will not fail in my charge.

I’ve presented my plans to you, I have taken the risk.  Take the risk with me.  Please vote on July 31, and  thank you for your support.

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