Sen. Rand Paul addresses UK students


Senator Rand Paul greets supporters following his town hall meeting at the Hilton at Lexington Green on Saturday, February 20, 2016.

Emily Cole

U.S. Sen. Rand Paul spoke on Monday morning to students and community members on campus about his policies and the upcoming election.

Paul has been in office since 2010 and will be running against Lexington mayor Jim Gray to claim the senate seat come Nov. 8. 

After a photo opportunity was offered to all present company, Paul led right in to his speech by highlighting his fears about individual liberties and security of personal information. 

Some of his concerns include protection of our information via online storage software such as the cloud and civilian rights to travel domestically. 

“The next time you’re in the airport and you stand for seven vulnerable seconds with your hands over your head, ask yourself if this is what freedom looks like,” he said.

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The senator also discussed the importance of enforcing search warrants and maintaining privacy at home. 

“Our Founding Fathers weren’t worried about the second amendment. They didn’t conceive a government that would take your guns but they did see a government that would come in to your house,” said Paul. 

Paul also vocalized his wish to decriminalize marijuana and shorten sentences for drug related crimes before shifting his focus to the presidential debate.

While opponent Jim Gray was not mentioned once during the event, Democratic nominee Hillary Clinton was the subject of much criticism. He critiqued her choice to vote for the war and Iraq and encouraged voters to take this in to consideration when voting next month. 

“Hillary Clinton is worse than the most right wing person you can imagine when it comes to war. She wants to topple Assad. She wanted to get rid of Ghadafi. But then who replaced him? When we get rid of him does he get replaced with Thomas Jefferson? No, ISIS now controls a third of Libya,” said Paul. “It’s chaos over there and we’re now more likely to get terrorists coming to Libya.”

The senator also took shots at fellow Republican U.S. Sen. John McCain, who he claims has a record similar to that of former Secretary of State Hillary Clinton. 

“She’s no different than John McCain. They’ve never met a war they didn’t want to get involved with and they think they can make the world safe for democracy but in the end wax the Iraq war a good thing or a bad thing?” 

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The appearance ended with a Q&A session in which the audience was allowed to ask the senator questions.

During this portion Paul was given a chance to clarify his position on university budget cuts which led him to stand by his view that not every student is meant to go to college. He stressed the value of vocational training and claimed that the price of education is rising because everything else is in the current economy.

“The main reason costs go up is because there is a closed market place. Prices also go up if you keep the supply fixed and subsidize the demand,” said Paul. “Obama has also waged a war on private universities during his presidency.”

Paul also spoke about his son, who is a junior at UK and was present at the event. 

When confronted with the question of whether or not he would continue to support Republican presidential nominee Donald Trump in wake of the recent sexual assault allegations, Paul refused to give a yes or no and instead refocused his energy toward Bill Clinton’s scandal with Monica Lewinsky. Paul called it “not just an affair” and said enough criticism exists “to go around both sides.”