Collins looks for votes in Front Royal

Christopher Collins

FRONT ROYAL — Christopher Collins brought his campaign for a seat in the House of Delegates on Thursday to a friendly audience of about a dozen who listened to him explain the reasons for his candidacy.

Collins, 43, is running for the Republican nomination against Del. Mark Berg, R-Winchester, in the 29th District. The primary is set for June 9 and the general election is Nov. 3.

Collins, who resigned from the Frederick County Board of Supervisors earlier this year, said the district needs more effective leadership in Richmond. He said he was especially bothered by unfunded mandates imposed on local governments by lawmakers in Richmond.

He said the district needed someone focused on passing legislation that would benefit the district.

“My opponent just has not been able to accomplish these things in Richmond,” Collins said.

Berg replied in an email message: “I look forward to commenting on my opponent’s positions on the issues when he decides to make those publicly known.”

In an interview Collins, a former deputy sheriff in Frederick County now practicing criminal defense law, described himself as a conservative, “100 percent pro-life, 100 percent pro-gun, small government. I pledge not to raise taxes, and I am staunchly opposed to Medicare and Medicaid expansion.”

Collins criticized a Berg-sponsored bill that would have allowed for the carrying of guns on school grounds after normal hours, a proposal opposed by some area school officials.

“I think the school board and administrators were never consulted on what effect that would have,” Collins said. “I believe in the Second Amendment, I believe in guns and the personal right to carry. However, when you’re talking about the safety of schools, I think you have to engage more individuals.”

Collins also criticized a proposal by Berg to designate county sheriffs as the chief law enforcement officers in their areas. Some law enforcement officials said the legislation would create confusion over lines of responsibility in Frederick County where the Winchester Police Department, Frederick County Sheriff’s Office and Winchester Sheriff’s Office each has a distinct role.

“He withdrew that bill because of the ramifications,” Collins said of Berg. “Had he spoken to law enforcement and vetted that bill, I don’t think he ever would have submitted it.”

Contact staff writer Joe Beck at 540-465-5137 ext. 142, or jbeck@nvdaily.com