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Saturday, February 23, 2013

Rand Paul: No Decision Yet On Presidential Run.

Rand speaks at a forum in Butler County

Rand Paul, R-Ky., speaks during a community forum Friday, Feb. 22, 2013, at Butler County Cooperative2 Extension Office. (Photo by Miranda Pederson/Daily News)

MORGANTOWN — U.S. Sen. Rand Paul reiterated Friday that he will wait until 2014 to decide whether he will run for president.
Paul, a Republican from Bowling Green, said it’s a compliment to him and to Kentucky that his name is being mentioned as a potential candidate. He spoke about the issue Friday when questioned by an audience member during a community forum in Morgantown.

While the Republican Party has a lot of support in Kentucky, it has struggled in some areas, he said. “So I think we need some new ideas that are a little different than what we’ve been presenting, and I think I could be part of that, but we haven’t made any firm decisions,” Paul said.
He spoke about a number of his policy ideas during the forum hosted by the Morgantown-Butler County Chamber of Commerce at the Butler County Cooperative Extension Service.
He stood at the podium next to a large check for $600,000 made out to “The U.S. Taxpayer.” The check represented money from his official operating budget that he will return to the U.S. Treasury, he said.
Paul announced the return of money from his operating budget earlier in the week. He said government needs to give employees incentives to save money.
Paul also spoke about the potential impact of the sequester – a mandated round of budget cuts set to go into effect next month – and ways in which the government can save money.
The sequester would cut $1.2 trillion over 10 years, but government spending will continue to increase, Paul said.
“Spending still is going to go up,” Paul said. “It’s not a cut in spending. It’s a cut in the rate of growth of spending.”
He made cuts in his office without laying people off, Paul said.
“We watch what we spend,” he said.
Paul said the government should choose not to fill the positions of governmental retirees and bring pay for employees down to market value. He also suggested a cut in foreign aid spending.
The ideas are part of Paul’s proposal, unveiled this week, to help prevent federal layoffs.
To improve the U.S. economy, it’s important to keep tax dollars in the hands of people in places such as Morgantown, he said. “You don’t get richer if I raise your taxes and send more money to Washington,” Paul said. “It’s typically wasted.”
He gave some examples of what he considers government waste, including about $5.2 million spent on a study of goldfish to find out about how they behave democratically.
Paul also took questions from the audience.
Kirk SanCartier, 51, of Morgantown, asked Paul about gun control efforts in Washington.
Paul said he wouldn’t have a problem with teachers or principals having guns in their desks at schools as a safeguard against gun violence.
The people who obey gun laws are not the people who are prone to gun violence, he said.
SanCartier said he’s concerned about his gun rights being taken away.
“Everybody has a right to protect themselves,” he said. “We do a lot of hunting, and that’s a very family oriented thing right now.”
If people spent more time with their children, many of the problems with gun violence wouldn’t exist, he said.
SanCartier doesn’t want people dictating how he can protect his family. “I’m afraid they’re trying to trample on our rights,” he said. “I’m afraid they’re trying to change the Constitution.”
James Runion, Morgantown-Butler County Chamber of Commerce president, asked Paul about coal mine permits in counties near Butler County, where many local residents work.
Paul said the president has been open about his feelings about coal, and that environmental regulations on coal don’t bode well for the industry.
“If this president has his way, there will be no more coal mined,” he said.
Runion was raised in eastern Kentucky and said coal is important for the state and for Butler County. “We want to keep jobs, not just in Butler County, but we want to keep Butler Countians working in other counties,” he said.



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