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Former congressman Mac Collins laid to rest

By Walter Geiger Mac Collins, who represented Lamar County in the U.S. House of Representatives from 1993-2005, serving the 3rd District and later the 8th District after districts were redrawn, died of a heart attack Nov. 20 while working on the family farm in Butts County. He was 74. Collins skipped college and started a trucking company with his wife Julie. His mother was the first female to serve on the Flovilla city council. He won a seat on the Butts County commission on his third try as a Democrat but was later one of the first old school Dixiecrats to move to the Republican party. He ran for the state senate as a Republican in 1982 and 1984, losing both times. He prevailed in that race in 1986 and, once sworn in, was one of only 11 Republican senators in the state. In Congress, he was considered one of the key architects of the GOP’s Contract With America. He served on the powerful Ways and Means committee, the Permanent Committee on Intelligence and as deputy majority whip. Collins ran for Zell Miller’s U.S. Senate seat in 2004 but lost in the Republican primary to Johnny Isakson. Afterwards, he declined to seek reelection to the House. In 2014, Governor Nathan Deal appointed Collins to the Georgia Board of Corrections. Collins was a member of Rock Springs Church. Among the notables in attendance at his funeral there Sunday were Gov. Deal and first lady Sandra Deal; governor-elect Brian Kemp and his wife, Marty; Congressman Drew Ferguson; and Department of Corrections commissioner Greg Dozier. Former house speaker Newt Gingrich and current Sen. David Perdue made remarks at the service via video link, praising Collins’ work ethic and his commitment to those who elected him. Collins was eulogized by Dr. Phil DeMore and Rock Springs pastor Dr. Benny Tate. In his remarks, Dr. Tate noted that, while in Congress, Collins turned down the opportunity to sign up for the lucrative congressional pension plan saying he would just get along with Social Security like his constituents. After the service, Collins was buried at Jackson City Cemetery.

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