Rand Paul to run for president

Rand Paul speaks at the 42nd annual Conservative Political Action Conference (CPAC) Feb. 27, 2015 in National Harbor, Md. Conservative activists attended the annual political conference to discuss their agenda. (Olivier Douliery/Abaca Press/TNS)

By Cheyene Miller

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Kentucky Sen. Rand Paul announced Tuesday morning that he will run for president in the 2016 election after serving four years as a U.S. senator.

The son of former Texas congressman and presidential candidate Ron Paul is well known for his libertarian and conservative values that sometimes put him at odds with Republicans as much as Democrats.

“We’ve come to take our country back from the special interests that use Washington (D.C.) as their personal piggy bank,” Paul said in his announcement speech in Louisville on Tuesday. “The special interests that are more concerned with their personal welfare than the general welfare.”

Paul gained widespread recognition in 2013 for his nearly 13-hour filibuster against the use of drones on American soil. He is a strident critic of surveillance on American citizens, saying, “As president on day one, I will immediately end this unconstitutional surveillance.”

He has taken unique Republican stances on issues like crime and drug laws, saying that convicted felons should have the right to vote and that non-violent drug offenders do not deserve harsh prison penalties. Paul has also noted that the “War on Drugs” has had a disproportionately negative effect on the black community.

“Too often when Republicans have won, we’ve squandered our victory by becoming part of the Washington machine,” Paul said.

In his announcement speech, Paul criticized the heavy amount of federal spending that took place under the Bush and Obama presidencies, and called for a constitutional amendment for a balanced budget.

“Congress will never balance the budget unless you force them to do so,” said Paul, who also mentioned his previously proposed “Read the Bills Act,” which would require Congress to read over all legislation before signing it into law.

Paul also advocated a deeper investment in American infrastructure, cutting corporate taxes to create jobs and a Regan-like policy of using strength to combat radical Islam without making long-lasting ties to the Middle East.

According to information from opensecrets.org, Paul’s biggest contributor during his time as Senator has been Club for Growth, a 501(c)4 organization that promotes candidates who support limited government.

They have contributed a total of $106,515 to Paul, who has received 85 percent of his funds through individual contributions. His top industrial contributions come from people who list themselves as “retired” on federal documents, totaling $626,154.

Paul is the second Republican to enter the race, after Sen. Ted Cruz of Texas. He will also seek to regain his job in the Senate.