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PowerPlayer: Congressional Candidate Abel Collins

Monday, September 10, 2012


This week’s PowerPlayer in 2nd Congressional District candidate Abel Collins. The Independent candidate was kind enough to chat with GoLocalProv about his vision for the country and the work Jim Langevin has done in Congress.

1) You’re running for Congress in the 2nd District. What made you decide to throw your hat in the ring?

I am running so that in twenty years, I’ll be able to look my children in the eyes and tell them that I did everything I could to protect our democracy, which is threatened by the corrupting influence of money. Over the course of my career of community activism, I have spoken with thousands of Rhode Islanders and I can say with certainty that the public is growing increasingly cynical about the political system. In order to prevent the myth that politics is all about the money from hardening into reality, we urgently need to prove that a grassroots political campaign can win. Seeing that there was a groundswell of popular support for my run through the “Recruit Abel” Facebook page and as someone who believes deeply in leading by example, I felt it was my civic duty to run.

2) What are the three most important issues for Congress to address in 2013?

1. We need to get the money out of politics. The first order of business is to start the constitutional amendment process to overturn Citizens United.

2. We’re staring into the teeth of another recession so we need to come up with a works program that will put people to work building the transportation, energy, and communications infrastructure our economy needs to succeed.

3. Reinstate Glass-Steagall and break up the Too Big To Fail banks.

3) Take us through a day in your life.

My two year old twins, Moses and/or Ezra, typically wake me and my wife Amber up at 7:00. Once we get downstairs, I check in on the virtual world to see what’s new, and then I sit down with Amber to discuss our schedules for the day and week ahead. That’s about the point where the similarities between my days end. My work with the Sierra Club RI Chapter has me doing something different every day and so does the campaign. I usually end up at campaign headquarters (166 Atwood Ave in Cranston) by 1:00 to begin working on getting more votes with my volunteer campaign team. As a former professional canvasser, I love to get out and knock on doors in the evening and then hope to make it home for the kids’ bedtime by 8:00. If I’m lucky, I’ll relax at the end of the day with an episode of the Daily Show while I rub Amber’s feet.

4) You’re running against Jim Langevin. Give us three things he’s done wrong in Congress.

1. Representative Langevin voted for the TARP bailout (both the horrible and the less horrible version) and has done nothing to hold Wall Street, the Fed, and the co-opted federal financial regulatory bodies accountable for their crimes and negligence.

2. He has consistently supported curtailing our civil liberties through legislation like the PATRIOT Act, the National Defense Authorization Act (NDAA), and the Cyber Intelligence Sharing and Protection Act (CISPA).

3. He hasn’t been a leader. While I approve of many of his votes, we need someone in Congress who will be an activist and an advocate for the working class, and Langevin hasn’t been that.

5) Tell us something nobody knows about you.

When I was in high school, my best friend and I got called on stage from the audience at the David Letterman show. It was a great show; Mel Gibson rode in on a horse, the Smashing Pumpkins played, and Ray Romano did stand up.

Quick Hitters

Role Model: Thomas Paine

Favorite Restaurant: The Matunuck Oyster Bar

Best Beach: Moonstone Beach after piping plover season

Best Book You’ve Read in the Last Year: The Great Derangement by Matt Taibbi

Advice for the Next Abel Collins: The greatest moments in your life will be spent in the laughter you enjoy when you overcome fear. Seek that laughter and let it ring out. Let us all fill the world with such exuberance.


Dan McGowan can be reached at [email protected]. Follow him on Twitter: @danmcgowan.


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