United States Senator (KY) and likely Republican Presidential candidate Rand Paul, chatted with us Friday while he was in town for the Orange County GOP’s Lincoln Day Dinner.
By Jacob Engels
His stump speech brought Central Florida Republicans to their feet for a healthy standing ovation in the heart of the I-4 corridor, during the Orange County GOP’s annual Lincoln Day Dinner fundraising event…proving that Senator Paul’s libertarian brand of conservatism can engage the Republican base, as well as students on college campuses nationwide.
But beforehand…Paul, a leading presidential contender, dressed in blue jeans and a sport coat, kindly fielded our questions after being hounded by the local TV news outlets, who provided little more than “gotcha” style inquiries.
The son of former Texas Congressman and Republican presidential contender Ron Paul, was on point with his answers and focused on a theme of freedom and individual liberty. From his #AuditTheFed legislation to his favorite band, we present our exclusive interview with Rand Paul.
Was a pleasure to speak with Senator Paul. Photo by Jason Jack Underwood.
What were the expectations growing up in the Paul household?
Do well in school…or else.
You have made a significant effort to broaden the appeal of the Republican Party to millenials and the younger generations. Why should the platform of the GOP interest these groups?
Kids are just innately part of this “leave me alone” coalition. They are leaving the house and tired of their parents and ready to make their own decisions. As adults move out of school and into the workforce, they are hungry for independence.
Young people are connected through their devices more so than any other generation and don’t understand why the government should be looking at what you are doing on your phone or who you are talking to. Ideas of privacy, of reigning in the NSA…are very much ideas that resonate. I have taken this message to young conservatives and libertarians at CPAC (Conservative Political Action Conference) and more liberal students/young people at Berkley, and it was received well in both places.
A lot of the youth who voted for President Obama are upset that he has not been a better defender of their privacy and that he has continued the perpetual nature of war.
Freedom and the power of the individual are two themes that are predominant in almost everything you do. Why are these concepts so important to you, and what is an example of something elected officials do to hinder these ideas?
When we started out, the whole battle of the constitution was not to restrain the people…but to restrain the government. When we finally booted the King and set up our own country, we wanted to constrain it…to make it hard to go to war, and listed rights important to us in the Bill of Rights. We also stated that those not listed are not to be disparaged, so individual freedom and rights really come out of our origin as a nation and people.
Over the last 100 years, government has grown bigger while freedom and individual liberty have grown smaller…in times of war it’s even more dangerous. In the past, some civil liberties would be lost and then come back after war. The problem now is that we are in a perpetual state of war and fear, and because of that there is a great deal of danger that our civil liberties face…as we lose them through the Patriot Act and the new NSA surveillance program. The mandates of backdoor searches through Google and Facebook mean we could never get that freedom back.
What would a Rand Paul presidency look like? What role would women, minorities and citizens have in helping shape policy and governance?
I would look at the law and find out how the law was treating people unfairly. For example, the war on drugs has had a disproportionately negative effect on African Americans, Hispanics and those that live in poverty.
In my administration, I would do everything in my power to make sure that the law was treating everyone equally and that it was more just. Putting someone in jail for 50 years for selling marijuana is obscene, and it should stop.
In Florida, you have two prominent people who might run for President who can’t even come to support medical marijuana. I know a man whose daughter has 200 seizures every day, so many that it can stunt the growth of his daughter’s brain. He wants to use cannabis oil, in addition to traditional medicine. Those in Florida who are against medical marijuana would actually put him in prison if he did that in your state. As Republicans, we need to show a little bit more compassion for people.
Where does your legislation on auditing the Federal Reserve stand?
Audit The Fed is very popular. It passed in the House last time with every Republican and about 100 Democrats. In the Senate, we have a little bit more of an uphill battle, but we have 30 co-sponsors right now and are hoping for a vote sometime this spring.
A lot of people think that a bank connected to the government like the Federal Reserve ought to reveal whose stuff they buy and what they own. If you are the Chairman of the Federal Reserve…should you let people know that you bought your brother’s bank? There should be more transparency.
Lightning round – Favorite band, film and Austrian economist.
Rush. Mr. Smith Goes to Washington and F.A. Hayek.
Learn more about Senator Paul by clicking here.
Jacob Engels, is the Founder of East Orlando Post & Seminole County Post. He is a seasoned political operative who has led numerous statewide political groups and has worked on several high-profile local, statewide, and national races. Jacob has been interviewed on national television & radio programs, with his work having been featured in the Orlando Sentinel, New York Times, Washington Post, Miami Herald and other publications nationwide. He can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org