November 20, 2018 4:57 PM
Word is going around this afternoon that former Congressman Mac Collins has died. He served in Congress from 1993-2005, arriving in DC two years before Newt Gingrich (who had represented much of what became Collins’ district) became Speaker with the Contract With America.
Mac was my Congressman when I began to dabble in “organized” politics, and I got to know him pretty well. His running joke was that he was a “Roads Scholar”. He would then spell it out to make sure folks got the joke. He was a truck driver, and often drove his own bus during campaign swings through the district.
I got to spend a day campaigning with him leading up to his re-election in 2002. He drove, of course, and I road in the back of his truck with then Coweta County Solicitor Robert Stokely. I got to understand a lot that day about both the Federal and local government by listening to the two of them talk, but mostly I got to see what true retail politics looked like.
Congressman Collins would drop in to a place like Crooks Grocery in Senoia, talk to Mr Crook for 10 minutes to resume a conversation that had probably started years earlier and didn’t end when we went back outside. He of course talked to the customers that were there, and even did a bit of constituent service work for a few on the fly. This was repeated all day, on the many days he was in the district.
He was “a man of the people”, and remains in high regard around the southern crescent of metro Atlanta to this day.
Condolences to Julie, Mike, the rest of the family, and to all who called Mac a friend.