Rand Paul

Kentucky’s two U.S. Senators have helped defeat an effort to raise the federal minimum wage.

Republicans Mitch McConnell and Rand Paul joined almost every other GOP Senator Wednesday in voting against a bill that would have boosted the minimum pay level for federal workers to $10.10 an hour by 2016, up from the current rate of $7.25.

Indiana Republican Sen. Dan Coats voted against the bill, with Indiana Democrat Joe Donnelly supporting it.

Overall, the bill received 54 votes in favor and 42 votes against, short of the 60-vote threshold needed to continue.

Tennessee’s Bob Corker was the only Republican to vote in favor of the measure.

The federal minimum wage bill has become a hot campaign topic ahead of the next round of Congressional elections. Democrats have portrayed GOP opposition to a minimum wage increase as proof of Republican disinterest in the working class poor.

Republicans point to a Congressional Budget Office report that found such an increase could cost the economy 500,000 jobs.

Senator Rand Paul says raising the minimum wage would negatively impact job prospects for minorities and children.

The Courier-Journal reports that while speaking Monday night to a group of business owners and officials in Louisville, Sen. Paul said Congress could help the poor and unemployed by cutting corporate and personal income taxes in struggling areas.

The Bowling Green Republican has introduced a bill that would create what he calls “economic freedom zones” in zip codes where at least one-quarter of the residents live at or below the poverty line.

That move comes amid a debate at both the federal and state governmental levels over whether the minimum wage should be hiked. Congress is considering whether to raise the federal minimum wage to $10.10 an hour.

Kentucky House Speaker Greg Stumbo sponsored legislation this year that would have increased the state’s minimum wage to that same level over the course of three years.

Abbey Oldham

Kentucky’s junior U.S. Senator is undecided on a 2016 presidential bid, and so are his constituents. 

A poll released Wednesday shows 31% of registered voters in Kentucky say Senator Paul should seek the Republican nomination for president while 34% say he should not.  Another 32% are undecided.

The poll by the New York Times and the Kaiser Family Foundation questioned 891 registered Kentucky voters between April 8-15.  While acknowledging his wife’s reservations about a presidential run, Paul has said he won’t make a decision until after the November elections. 

Meanwhile, the Bowling Green Republican continues trekking across the country and speaking at events.  This week he hosted school choice roundtables in Chicago and Milwaukee.  This weekend, Senator Paul will be in Massachusetts speaking at the Harvard Institute of Politics.  He’ll also address the state GOP convention in Maine.

For a second year in a row, Time magazine has named Kentucky Senator Rand Paul as one of its 100 Most Influential People in the World. 

Paul’s fellow Kentucky Senator, Mitch McConnell writes a tribute to Paul in Time, saying the “real secret” to Paul’s “rapid rise from a Bowling Green operating room to the Center of American politics is his authenticity”. 

McConnell also writes that Paul is “forcing people to rethink the Republican Party.”

Meantime, a New York Times/Kaiser Family Family Foundation poll released this week shows one-third of Kentucky voters think Paul should make a presidential run in 2016. Another third feel Paul should not, while just over 30 percent say they don't have enough information to form an opinion.

Paul has said he'll wait until after the mid-term elections to announce a possible White House bid.

Rand Paul Criticizes President, Others Over Spying

Mar 20, 2014

Senator Rand Paul assailed President Barack Obama and other government leaders over recent surveillance disclosures and called for a congressional investigation of possible spying abuses during a brief speech before cheering students at the University of California, Berkeley.

The Republican senator from Kentucky on Wednesday used his platform at the historically liberal campus to chide "the nation's first African-American president" for allowing the alleged spying abuses to occur with "no compunction," even though Martin Luther King Jr. and other black heroes were once targets of illegal government surveillance.

Paul also called for federal lawmakers to create a special committee to investigate allegations raised by Sen. Dianne Feinstein of California that CIA agents secretly searched Senate computers.

A bill that would allow U.S. Sen. Rand Paul to run for both the Senate and the Presidency of the United States passed out of the Republican-controlled Kentucky Senate Tuesday.

Senate Bill 205, sponsored by GOP Floor Leader Damon Thayer, would allow a candidate who is running for statewide election to also run for the office of the presidency or vice-presidency. It passed by a 25 to 13 vote.

Paul is widely considered to be front-runner for the Republican Party's presidential nomination in 2016, when he is also up for re-election, but the Bowling Green Republican has not announced any specific plans.

Thayer's bill now heads to the House, where Speaker Greg Stumbo has laughed at the idea.

A revised bill that would allow Rand Paul to run for Senate re-election and the White House at the same time is gaining ground.

A Kentucky Senate committee passed the measure after it was changed to specify that the bill applies only to those running for either President or Vice-President of the U.S. Every Republican and one Democrat on the committee voted to forward the bill on to the full Senate.

Current Kentucky law disallows a candidate from appearing twice on a general election ballot.

Bill sponsor Damon Thayer told the Lexington Herald-Leader that the changes to the bill were modeled after a statute in Wisconsin that allowed GOP Congressman Paul Ryan to run for Vice President and the U.S. House in 2012.

Senator Reggie Thomas, one of the Democrats who voted against the measure, said it “defies common sense.”

The Conservative Political Action Conference ended in Washington Saturday, after giving Sen. Rand Paul a second consecutive victory in the presidential straw poll that's seen as an indicator of how Republicans see their leaders.

From Politico:

Updated: 5:26 p.m.

The bill cleared the full Senate late Wednesday by a 34-4 vote. It now goes back to the House for reconciliation.  The House bill did not include a five-year waiting period, while the Senate version did.

Original Post

U.S. Senator Rand Paul has thrown his support behind a state bill that would restore the voting rights of some felons.

Paul spoke before the Kentucky Senate State and Local Government Committee Wednesday. He reminded the panel of the Republican Party’s history of support for civil rights. And he noted the higher incarceration rates of African-Americans in Kentucky, where a fifth of black adults cannot vote due to a felony record.

“There was a time in our society where there were intentional incarcerations based on race," the Bowling Green Republican said. "I don’t think it’s intentional, but there … has become a racial outcome on who’s incarcerated in our country, and I think that’s something that has to be addressed here. Because not only is the incarceration, I think, unfair, then they get out and the voting rights are impaired.”

A bill restoring voting rights for certain felons then cleared the committee by a unanimous vote. But it was amended to include mandatory five-year waiting period and an exemption for those with multiple offenses.

Over lunch at the Justice Department, Attorney General Eric Holder and Sen. Rand Paul discussed changes in criminal sentencing and restoring voting rights to ex-felons, a pair of issues the Democratic attorney general and the Republican senator regard as vital to improving the criminal justice system.

In a statement following Wednesday's meeting, the Justice Department said Holder appreciates Paul's leadership on both issues and is pleased to have the opportunity to work with him on shared priorities.

Holder and Paul agree on the need to stem prison overcrowding, which they say diverts money away from crime fighting, and to stop charging many nonviolent, low-level drug defendants with offenses that carry long mandatory minimum sentences.

Rand Paul Staffer Joins Matt Bevin Campaign

Jan 27, 2014

An aide to Sen. Rand Paul has joined Republican Matt Bevin's Senate campaign, saying the Louisville businessman is "the best man" in the race and offers needed change in his bid to unseat Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell.

Bernie Kunkel will be the Bevin campaign's field director in the 4th Congressional District, which includes the urban counties just south of Cincinnati and has become a hotbed of Tea Party activity.

Kunkel had been Paul's field representative in the sprawling 4th District in Northern Kentucky.

Kunkel, a veteran GOP activist in the region, has helped a slew of Republican candidates at the city, state and federal levels, and has been active in promoting anti-abortion and school choice causes.

Sen. Paul's Office

Kentucky’s junior U.S. Senator said President Obama isn’t going far enough with changing the country’s data collection policy.

Bowling Green Republican Rand Paul told WKU Public Radio he believes the privacy of American citizens will continue to be violated despite changes announced Friday during a speech by the President.

“Well, to me it kinda sounded like, you know, if you like your privacy, you can keep it, except for the fact that he’s going to still continue to collect your phone records, your emails, your texts, and probably your credit card records. So, while on the surface it sounded like he is concerned with our privacy, I didn’t really hear any policy changes that he’s going to quit collecting all of our records,” said Sen. Paul.

In his much-anticipated address Friday, President Obama said he will require intelligence agencies to receive permission from a secret court before tapping into vast amounts of phone data, and will eventually move that information out of the hands of the government.

Six of Kentucky’s eight members of Congress are millionaires, and an analysis of financial disclosure reports filed last year also shows a Kentucky U.S. Senator and Congressman rank in the top 50 of most wealthy lawmakers.

Kentucky is far from alone when it comes to states with wealthy members of Congress. In fact, more than half of the U.S. Congressmen and Senators made the latest list of millionaires, the first time that has ever happened.

The analysis by the nonprofit Center of Responsive Politics shows that Sen. Mitch McConnell and Rep. John Yarmuth are the wealthiest lawmakers in Kentucky. Records show McConnell has a net worth of $22.8 million; Yarmuth has $21.2 million.

Nationwide, McConnell ranks as the 37th wealthiest member of Congress, with Yarmuth 41st.

Congressmen Brett Guthrie, Ed Whitfield, Hal Rogers, and Thomas Massie also made the list of millionaires. That leaves Senator Rand Paul and Congressman Andy Barr as the only members of Kentucky’s delegation not on the list.

A conservative group is planning to blanket Kentucky in coming weeks with TV ads defending Republican Senator Mitch McConnell. The ad buy will also link McConnell with his fellow Kentucky Republican, Rand Paul.

The website Politico says it’s learned that the nonprofit group Kentucky Opportunity Coalition will spend nearly $400,000 over the next week on the ads. According to a script shared with Politico, the ad will tell viewers that Senators McConnell and Paul are “working together to stop Obamacare.”

The Kentucky Opportunity Coalition is a 501 (c) (4) group aligned with the SuperPAC Kentuckians for Strong Leadership. That group has already spent hundreds of thousands of dollars on commercials attacking Kentucky Senate Democratic candidate Alison Lundergan Grimes.

Democratic groups have also jumped into the fray, with Senate Majority PAC and the group Patriot Money labeling McConnell as an obstructionist who should be retired from office after nearly three decades in the U.S. Senate.

Someone close to Kentucky’s junior U.S. Senator is predicting the Bowling Green Republican will run for President in 2016.

The statement comes from Ron Paul, the former Texas Congressman and father of Senator Rand Paul.

Speaking on CNN Monday, Ron Paul said he thought his son “probably” will run for the White House. Senator Rand Paul has been the subject of much speculation about a possible presidential bid, and has told several interviewers that he is actively considering such a run.

However, following a speech last Friday in Detroit, the freshman Senator said his wife, Kelly, is opposed to him running for president. Paul said his thoughts about being in the spotlight shift from week to week, adding “Sometimes you have a good week. The next week they pound you to death. You know, the haters and the hacks go after you.”

Paul recently faced criticism for using material in some of his speeches and newspaper editorials that were lifted—without attribution—from other sources. Paul said much of the negative attention was coming from, what he called, “haters”.