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Precinct meet sets stage for convention
Collins encourages GOP to work hard
Collins WEB

U.S. Rep. Doug Collins reminded a room of local Republicans why they’d given their Saturday morning to gather.

The congressman from the newly created District 9 kicked off the mass precinct meeting for the Forsyth County Republican Party with a speech on his time in Washington, D.C., and the importance of spreading the party’s message.

Collins, a Gainesville Republican who took office in January, talked about spending in the federal government, including the $60 billion aid package for Hurricane Sandy relief “with no offset.”

He also touched on his vote against raising the debt ceiling and the lack of “common sense” when it comes to finances in the federal government.

Collins, whose district includes north Forsyth and much of northeast Georgia, then asked the gathering at Forsyth Central High School to help him deliver the party’s message “of limited government, balanced budget and free enterprise works” by engaging in discussions with others.

“I believe as conservatives and as conservative Republicans we have the right ideas to move this country forward,” he said. “We have the right principles to stand on.”

After a short speech, Collins left the group to begin that work by electing its delegates during the mass precinct meeting.

Chairman Ethan Underwood praised the “great turnout” of more than 250 from all but three of the county’s 25 precincts.

Each voting precinct in the county elected officers for a two-year term to organize the smallest political jurisdiction in the state.

Each precinct also selected delegates and alternates who will vote on Forsyth’s party representation at next month’s county convention.

Underwood announced earlier this year that he is stepping down as the local party chairman, and the other seats on the executive committee will also be up for a vote.

The county has been assigned nearly 500 delegates, one for every 150 Republican votes cast during the November presidential election.

Underwood discussed the party’s success in all elections on the ballot except the presidential race in November, and noted the county even gained Republicans.

Forsyth had about 6,100 more voters since the last presidential election, but about 6,700 more votes for the Republican candidate.

“We have a good team. We’re working hard,” he said. “This is a premiere county that other counties are turning to and saying ‘How do you organize and how do you do this?’”

As top priorities for the party, he pointed to 2014, when Georgia will elect a new U.S. senator. The state also will have a gubernatorial election.