Tuesday, an eye surgeon from Bowling Green is likely to step onto the biggest stage in politics. U.S. Senator Rand Paul is expected to announce his campaign for the Republican nomination for president.
In November 2010, Kentucky voters sent Paul to Washington in the midst of a national Tea Party movement.
"I have a message, a message from the people of Kentucky, a message that is loud and clear and does not mince words," Paul exclaimed in his election night victory speech. "We've come to take our government back!"
Now, Paul is seeking a bigger platform for his ideas. After more than a year of fundraising and crisscrossing early-voting states, the freshman senator is about to make his bid for the White House official.
For a lot of conservatives in Bowling Green, it’s a proud moment. Gayla Warner has known Paul and his family for almost two decades. Besides the person, she likes what he stands for politically.
”The first thing that comes to mind is his dedication to make our federal government smaller, and with that is lowering taxes, and reducing spending," says Warner.
Several years ago, she couldn’t have imagined her neighbor running for the highest office in the land.
"Now that he has entered the realm of politics, it doesn’t seem that far-fetched at all to me," she adds.
Bowling Green eye doctor Robert Duvall knows Paul personally and professionally.
”As eye care providers, I can tell you he’s always been a man of impeccable integrity. I’ve always trusted him with patients, but I also trust him to lead the country," states Duvall. "He’s smart, determined, and willing to make tough decisions.”
College Republicans from WKU gathered at a local coffee shop are nearly unanimous in their support of Paul, who polls best among youth voters. Senior Zach Imel says when it comes to technology, Paul gets it.
”He’s very good with social media and getting his message out to where the youth are," explains Imel. "Twitter, Facebook, and he’s even on Snapchat. I think that’s very cool.”
But senior Meghan McGuirk isn’t so much a Rand fan.
”I think his attempt to run for both the Senate primary and the presidential primary indicates he’s considering more his own career, in my eyes, than what would be best for the people of this state or the United States," she suggests.
Meghan thinks Paul’s efforts to run for two offices simultaneously creates difficulties for the state Republican party. She worries moving Kentucky’s presidential primary to a caucus will limit the number of people who are able to vote.