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Independent Collins "Looks Forward to Winning" Debates against Langevin, Riley

Abel Collins said when polling numbers come in for the Second Congressional District, the numbers will show his campaign is extremely viable.

Abel Collins, an Independent candidate for Rhode Island’s Second Congressional District, has never run a political campaign and is facing off against a 12-year- incumbent Democrat in the U.S. House of Representatives and a Republican-party backed former Wall Street executive.

Put the 33-year-old South Kingstown native in front of a microphone, however, and you won’t hear much doubt come through the speakers.

At a press conference in his Cranston campaign headquarters last week, Collins boldly asserted that his campaign will be a force to reckon with come November and that he looks forward to debating his opponents — Democrat James Langevin and Republican Mike Riley — and “looks forward to winning the upcoming debates.”

Collins said he called the press conference to congratulate Langevin and Riley for their primary wins and then launched into a detailed critique of why he thinks they both represent why voter apathy is at an all time high and our democracy is failing the American people.

“The fact remains, those twelve years [Langevin presided] have been some of the worst years for the Rhode Island economy in its history,” Collins said. “We can’t put all the blame on Representative Langevin, but he hasn’t been a vocal advocate for the working class. We need a leader to fight for the working class.”

Collins said Mike Riley’s background on Wall Street concerns him.

“Our whole government seems to be catering to Wall Street at this time,” Collins said. “An ex-Wall Street banker is going to be even more in the pockets of the politically corrupt industry.”

Collins did not have to compete in the primary, so he wasn’t on hand for the recent debates. At his press conference, he outlined how he’s different.

Unlike everyone else at the debate, Collins said he opposes the Keystone XL pipeline project. The promise is that it will create lots of jobs and be great for the economy but it is instead “an accident waiting to happen” and promotes the creation of more greenhouse gasses and contributes to climate change.

He is staunchly pro-choice and said “we need to do more in our society to support women,” and if we want to reduce the incidents of abortion, start with funding Planned Parenthood, domestic violence support networks and other organizations “making sure women feel safe and confident there is a safe place for them.”

Collins said Langevin has supported the Patriot Act, the National Defense Authorization Act, the Cyber-Intelligence Sharing Act and other policies that “slowly but surely erode our ability to freely communicate with each other and our ability to lead private lives.”

Collins said his campaign has so far raised about $15,000 through grassroots fundraising and his campaign will forge new approaches to political campaigns in an effort to show “you don’t need to spend a million dollars to win a congressional campaign.”

He has been selling T-shirts that highlight his campaign, getting the message out while raising money. His social media strategy has generated some momentum for his campaign and he said he’s “seriously outpacing” his competitors in terms of online strategy.

He also intends on using fundraisers to raise money for local nonprofits. Plans are underway for a fundraiser that will partner with Amos House in Providence. Some money will go to the campaign, some will go to Amos House.

“A political campaign doesn’t just have to be a self-serving enterprise,” Collins said. “I’m showing the type of congressman I want to be.”

Collins said he’s really “fighting for the soul of our Democracy” and one of his top platform issues is campaign finance reform.

Right now “unlimited funds are allowed to be spent on our elections” and until the Constitution is amended, he said, “we’re going to lose our democracy ever more.”

“People are tuning out of politics because they have no voice left. It’s all about the people with the big money, the big campaign donations and we need to stop that.”

Collins said he is running because he feels it’s his civic duty. A program manager at the Rhode Island Sierra Club, Collins said he believes in leading by example.

“I don’t want my children growing up in a democracy that is a charade,” he said.

The campaign so far has recruited more than 100 volunteers, Collins said. They’ve fanned out across the state to get the message out.

Collins has been endorsed by RI Move to Amend — an organization that is trying to get the Citizens United Supreme Court ruling overturned.

He also revealed last week that he will soon be announcing the endorsement of his campaign by the Green Party of Rhode Island.

There will be some other major announcements, Collins said, but it’s still early in the campaign season and polling for his race hasn’t started. He said when polling does start, there will be a lot of raised eyebrows.

“When it shows we’re a viable, independent race, it will get more people to donate for the campaign,” Collins said. “We don’t need $1 million, but we can spend whatever money we do spend 10 times more effectively than anyone else.” 

Read our story of Collins' campaign announcement by clicking HERE.

Tyais Terry September 17, 2012 at 11:43 PM
Abel represents exactly the change we need. Langevin, allegedly a progressive democrat, has provided us nothing more than the status quo. The very fact that he voted for NDAA 2012, which allows for the indefinite detention of American Citizens without trial or charge, shows that. Add to that the cyber act, his choices choices for us, people of RI begin to look very insidious. I have personally written him a dozen times, and have only ever received a form letter back. Then we have Riley. A ex-wall street banker who supports Keystone and a desire to roll back settled law concerning a woman's right to choose. There is no question in my mind who he will cater to, and it won't be in the best interest of RI'ers. Abel is an Independent, with no party loyalties, but rather a loyalty to democracy and the people within it. I think it's high time we shake things up and expect more from the people that shape our children's future. Abel represents that.
Abel Collins September 18, 2012 at 01:53 AM
Here by the way is the campaign facebook page: http://www.facebook.com/ElectAbel
Abel Collins September 18, 2012 at 03:45 AM
Also, here is the great event that will benefit both the Amos House and my campaign, if you'd like to help make history: http://www.facebook.com/events/282648008516307/ And the innovative t-shirt fundraiser: http://teespring.com/breakthecycle
Ted Geisel September 18, 2012 at 02:21 PM
Hello Mr. Collins, I was just looking at your website and I was hoping you could expand on a few issues that are important to me. What is your stance on the Second Amendment? How do you feel about Right to Work? Immigration Reform? ObamaCare? I like that you're an independent candidate and I've heard a lot of promise in what you're saying but I'd like to hear your stance on some of the more controversial issues.
MeanE September 18, 2012 at 03:17 PM
He had me at - “People are tuning out of politics because they have no voice left. It’s all about the people with the big money, the big campaign donations and we need to stop that.”
Abel Collins September 18, 2012 at 05:06 PM
Hi Ted, Thank you for your questions. On the Second Amendment, I respect the decisions of the Supreme Court, and I think that is where the issue is appropriately being dealt with. In my opinion, "the right to work" movement is a disingenuous way to bust unions and as such is an infringement on people's right to free assembly. I oppose it. Immigration reform is a complex issue which is rarely examined as part of the broader economic context. What is the source of illegal immigration? In many cases, it is the result of our free trade policies which tend to destroy indigenous agrarian economies (think Mexico) and drive people here, or often times people are fleeing conflicts around the globe and would more appropriately be labeled as refugees (many times these conflicts involve our forces and weapons). I guess what I'm saying is that to address illegal immigration, we need to address its root causes. Why are there jobs in America that Americans are unwilling to fill? I want to have that systemic discussion. On Obamacare, my position is laid out on my website. It cements in place an unworkable health care system and is a drag on small business job creation. I believe the only way to solve our health care crisis is through a single-payer system. I am sure that we differ on many of these issues, but I am also sure that we have issues that we would agree on. Regardless, I am happy to listen to your concerns.
Ted Geisel September 18, 2012 at 06:32 PM
Thank you for the quick reply. I have to say you sound a lot like a politician, sorry. I guess I was looking for something more concrete even if I disagreed with it. I mean I know that the supreme court ultimately decides issues but if elected to Congress you'd be helping to craft the laws. Maybe an easier way to put it would have been, are you pro 2nd amendment or against? I guess we'll have to agree to disagree on "right to work". I understand there is a right to free assembly, absolutely. But doesn't a man or woman have the right to keep the spoils of their work? Unions still exist in right to work states, the difference is people aren't forced against their will to belong to a union in order to have a certain job. To me the issue of personal freedom out weighs the unions interest. There is room for a systemic discussion on immigration but let me ask you this... Should laws be enforced equally? Why are immigration laws overlooked and people who are here in violation of the law get a free pass? How is it fair? Should I be able to pick a few laws out of the book and decide they no longer apply to me? There are jobs here that people aren't willing to do because illegals will do them cheaper. If there were no illegals available to do the job the pay rate of that job would increase until someone filled the position. Simple economics. Do you think our government is capable of running a single payer system? I certainly don't. They can't run the DMV.
Abel Collins September 18, 2012 at 07:19 PM
Regardless of how the DMV is run, Medicare is run without much of a problem, so yes I do think it's possible. Really the great benefit of having a single-payer system is that it can be managed by the doctors and other health care professionals on the front lines as it is so successfully done in other industrialized countries that provide universal care, with better outcomes, and at half the cost. Yes, laws should be enforced equally, starting on Wall Street. I think immigration laws need to be reformed before they can be equally applied to produce justice. I am pro-second amendment and need my rifle to keep the coyotes at bay on the farm. I understand that other people keep firearms for different reasons, so be it.
NK_Voter September 18, 2012 at 07:20 PM
Keystone is "an accident waiting to happen"? Could you eloborate on that please? Isn't the rising cost of heating oil in this state a closer problem for our poor and elderly that a pipeline a 1000 miles away that could lower these costs ? Is our balooning national debt not a problem? Our consistently high unemployment #'s in RI? Can you tell us how increasing the cost of energy in this state by mandating "green energy" will make us more competitive in attracting business, thus addressing the unemployment #s?
Tyais Terry September 18, 2012 at 08:57 PM
NK Voter, are you suggesting that the risk to the people and environment (Google communities of the Kalamazoo river), is outweighed to save some money? It's a toxic nightmare and it creates about 1/5 of the jobs Keystone claims, which are only temporary. It's a dangerous addiction and we MUST look toward Green energy solutions. That's where the jobs are, and that's where the future is headed.
Abel Collins September 19, 2012 at 12:10 AM
Thanks to Tyais for her comment. I would add that the Tar Sands sludge that would be pumped through the Keystone Pipeline is a very corrosive from of petroleum. It is more viscous than other forms so it has to be heated up and pumped at a higher velocity. All of these factors make it significantly more likely that a lead will occur, and leaks DO occur more frequently than you would think. Multiple studies of this project show that gas prices will not come down any time in the near future because of increased production. The quickest ways to reduce prices are to reduce demand by producing more fuel efficient fleets of vehicles and by getting the speculators out of the commodities markets.
NK_Voter September 19, 2012 at 02:23 AM
Thanks for the partial reply. It is clear you are not conversant on the larger issues yet I wish you well. By the way, do you really think all Wall Street workers are bad, greedy people? Are we not being a tad unfair by painting all as evil when in reality we have a few bad apples? If Riley has done something wrong, please let us know. But to infer he's untrustworthy because he worked on Wall Street is a bit sleezy. Tyais. I appreciate your emotion and caring. But yes...I prefer that stretched seniors on fixed incomes can afford to heat their homes this winter. As for green jobs, please research green jobs in Spain and Solyndra...you won’t find many jobs despite the hype and promises. And if RI keeps going down the "green energy" path, our businesses will fail/move as they will be less competitive in the local/global markets due to higher energy costs. Try paying for heat without a job....
Tyais Terry September 19, 2012 at 03:33 AM
Thankfully NK, there are some safety nets for people without jobs who need heat. I know because I've been one of them in the past. Will those safety net still be in place when a person who looks toward Romney and Paul for leadership is in office? I think it's been made pretty clear what they think of 47% of Americans. As far as ALL Wall St. workers being bad and greedy, maybe not. But based on the fraud committed on our economy and the American people, I'd rather rather not take my chances. Also, I heard Riley speak at his debate and he had nothing new to offer, in fact he seemed to regurgitate much of same from the people who don't represent society as a whole, but rather a very myopic view on everything from energy to women's reproductive rights. Keystone will not lower heating costs and it will bring poison and devastation to my state. The end sum is Riley is the clone of a party that doesn't represent RI'ers, in the very least. Abel Collins represents a much needed change from the same old stagnate party lines. He doesn't have loyalty to a party, but rather loyalty to the constituents. That's the kind of man we need representing us.
Ted Geisel September 19, 2012 at 02:29 PM
Hello Again Mr Collins, I would disagree that Medicare runs without much of a problem. According to the Medicare Trustee Report for 2012 they spent $549.1B and took in $530B. The same report projects it will not run a surplus in the foreseeable future. I see that as a problem. The program will run out of money in 2024. In addition Medicare fraud is now almost $60 billion a year. Perhaps Milton Friedman said it best "One of the great mistakes is to judge policies and programs by their intentions rather than their results." That said, you have my vote. We disagree on some things but at least you are out there talking to regular people, like myself, which is more than I can say for the vast majority of people running for office. Don't change. Well except on the Medicare and immigration stuff.
Abel Collins September 19, 2012 at 07:19 PM
I suggested two very real ways to lower gas prices that have a far greater likelihood of working than the Keystone Pipeline. I consider that an adequate reply. I could go into more depth about environmental impacts, but I do have a campaign to attend to. What suggests to you that I'm not conversant on the issues? As for Riley, the specialist firm that he ran for TD Bank, Letco, and that was later purchased by the bank, was forced to pay rather large fines to the SEC for the way he conducted its business. While he was never directly named in the suit, it is not unlikely that he was involved. Here's the finding: http://www.sec.gov/litigation/admin/2009/34-59507.pdf

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