People Power

First-time congressional candidate Able Collins (I) hopes to put people back in politics.

At a political rally in Rhode Island last month, he told the crowd that if elected to the United States House of Representatives he would help steer the nation back to towards democratic ideals of political participation.

First, as a newcomer to politics, the environmental activist has to introduce himself and his platforms to the public. Since announcing his candidacy earlier this year, he has focused on four major issues from financial reform, to fair trade politics, agricultural policy, and the relationship between money and politics. Collins believes that addressing these issues will help protect the country’s resources and put money back into America’s hands.

Collin’s concerns for the financial system include insider trading and racketeering. If elected, he vows to crack down on such financial corruption. Additionally, he intends to limit the size of major financial institutions in favor of smaller banks.

He strongly criticizes the current trade policies, which he believes allow foreign countries to exploit their people and damage the planet “recklessly” for the sake of cheap goods that break down easily. His frustration with these policies is compounded by the fact that Americans lose out on job opportunities. Collins believes that the nation can reclaim lost jobs and production, by supporting aggressive enforcement of workers’ rights and environmental standards.

Collins places equal importance on preserving agriculture not only in Rhode Island, but also around the country. As a man who still lives on the same Mantunuck farm he was raised in, he says that he has watched first hand as global warming has begun to impact agriculture. He aims to support any actions in Congress that will focus on developing and selling energy-efficient technology, which will reduce the American contribution to global warming, while simultaneously weaning the country off foreign fuel.

Taking a page from founding father George Washington, Collins hopes to spearhead the formation of a Department of Peace. During the initial formation of the Unites States, Washington advocated for a separate agency to serve as a counterpart to the Department of Defense. Collins hopes to reignite calls for such a department to “coordinate and focus peace-building efforts domestically and internationally.” This more radical proposal echoes Collins’ need to institute systems so that the public can support government factions, instead of companies controlling politics with their money. By supporting public campaigns, the people hold the power, not a select few individuals or corporations.

Beatrice Bell is a vendor and a writer for Spare Change News.

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