Letter: Humble Pie for Chris Collins

by / Feb. 22, 2017 12am EST

I recently had the pleasure of sitting next to Representative Chris Collins for a three-hour flight to Florida. Anyone seated within five rows of Representative Collins was lucky enough to hear about his intelligence, savvy, wealth, and boastful pride in the recent election results. How he has direct access to the president’s son-in-law and won’t be taking a job at the White House as he is too valuable in Congress with his expertise in the pharmaceutical industry. I never once heard him mention how the voters in the district where he lives decided after four years they no longer needed his services as county executive and voted him out of office. Is losing the state where you live and voters know you best and the national popular vote by more than million people evidence of some overwhelming mandate, or just a repudiation of Washington, DC and a deeply flawed beltway candidate like Hillary Clinton?

What has Representative Chris Collins “knowledge and expertise” done for our healthcare?

US healthcare as a percentage of GDP has grown from six percent in 1970 to 18 percent by 2016.  During the same period in Canada, Germany and the UK it went from roughly five percent in 1970 to 10 percent today. The US is currently spending seven to eight percent more of its GDP on healthcare than any other industrialized nation with no impact on actual health outcomes as a nation.  Americans pay some of the highest prices for prescription drugs in the world, often 50 to 80 percent more than just across the border in Canada. Eight percent more of US GDP is about 1.5 trillion dollars yearly.  Money that could be spent on education, roads and bridges, tax reductions, or reducing the $19 trillion federal debt. 

Representative Chris Collins seems far more interested in feeding his oversized ego, running pharmaceutical companies in Australia, and making money with private placement stock offerings for his friends and family than in helping solve the healthcare and debt crisis we face in America. Listening to him drone on about all his accomplishments and status for three hours made me regret ever voting for him. Representative Collins seems the epitome of the “public servant” whose actions and results show he is far more concerned with increasing his own power and wealth than helping his constituents or this country. 

The next time you see Representative Collins driving his red Ford pickup truck while campaigning, ask him why he left the Range Rover and Mercedes parked in his heated garage over-looking Spaulding Lake. Was he afraid they would get dirty, or was it because he is embarrassed that, with all his wealth, he does not buy American-made vehicles, despite asking you to vote for him as your representative in Congress?

I’d like to know why Representative Collins did nothing when Gildan closed New Buffalo Shirt Factory in Clarence last year and moved the printing of t-shirts for companies like Nike and Disney to Honduras?  He actually told news outlets that anyone who still wanted a job with Gildan was being offered one, but failed to mention most of those the jobs paid about $15 per day and were located in Honduras. Where was his outrage at a huge corporation moving jobs offshore to save 25  cents per printed t-shirt while over 150 of his constituents lost their jobs? At least Donald Trump would have embarrassed Gildan with a Tweet, just for the optics. Was Representative Collins too busy enriching himself with private stock offerings in Australia to worry about the people who live and work in his district, or just too inept and incompetent to do anything about it?

 The people of the 27th congressional district of New York State deserve a representative who will fight for them. Gildan offshoring New Buffalo Shirt Factory jobs in 2016 from Clarence to Honduras happened on his watch. He was elected to fight for the people and jobs in his district, to keep America strong. Representative Collins either does not get it or just does not care. This is not about Democrat or Republican, but I demand to be represented by someone more concerned about helping his constituents than feeding his own ego and wallet. We need to send that message and a big piece of humble pie to Representative Collins in 2018. —AARON WALKER, CLARENCE