Like many of you, our family was blessed withthe opportunity to gather together over the recent Thanksgiving holiday.
Columba and I are so proud of the wonderful adults our children have become, and we loved spending time with our three precious grandchildren.
We shared good food and watched a whole lot of football.
We also talked about the future of ournation. As a result of these conversations and thoughtful consideration of the kind of strong leadership I think America needs, I have decided to actively explore the possibility of running for President of the United States.
In January, I also plan to establish a Leadership PAC that will help me facilitate conversations with citizens across America to discuss the most critical challenges facing our exceptional nation. The PAC’s purpose will be to support leaders, ideas and policies that will expand opportunity and prosperity for all Americans.
In the coming months, I hope to visit with many of you and have a conversation about restoring the promise of America.
Best wishes to you and your families for a happy holiday season. I’ll be in touch soon.
Iowa GOP Leaders Sign Unprecedented Pledge of Neutrality in 2016 Iowa Caucuses
(DES MOINES) — The Republican Party of Iowa’s leadership board has signed a pledge to remain neutral in the Iowa caucus process, completely removing themselves from any endorsements on behalf of any presidential candidate.
The pledge, signed by Chairman Jeff Kaufman, Co-Chairman Cody Hoefert and all of the members of the State Central Committee - the party’s governing board - is unprecedented and is intended to send a clear signal to potential presidential candidates: all are welcome in Iowa, and the caucus process will be a fair and impartial one.
“I am proud of the State Central Committee for taking this extraordinary step in sending a clear signal to all of our candidates and activists across the state,” said Kaufmann. “Iowa has an important stake in the nominating process, and it is an honor we take very seriously every four years. This pledge is a reflection of our commitment to neutrality and openness towards all the candidates and their supporters.
The wording of the pledge is as follows:
“No member of the Republican Party of Iowa State Central Committee, its Officers, or its Staff shall publicly endorse a U.S. Presidential Candidate during the 2016 Iowa Caucuses.”
The pledge was signed at the quarterly central committee meeting on Saturday, November 22. The signed copy can be found by clicking here.
“There has never been a question of integrity when it comes to the caucus process, but this pledge underscores that fact with an underline and exclamation point,” said Hoefert. “Our party is coming off an incredibly successful election, and we are excited to continue that momentum by welcoming every candidate who wishes to participate in the Iowa caucuses.”
Rand Paul to Seek Re-election to U.S. Senate Sen. Mitch McConnell, Every GOP Member of Kentucky Congressional Delegation Endorse Campaign
Republican Leaders Comer, Stivers, Hoover Back Re-election Effort BOWLING GREEN, Ky. – Sen. Rand Paul today announced that he would seek re-election to the United States Senate in 2016.
“I ran for office because, like many Kentuckians, I was alarmed at the problems facing our country: a stagnant and uneven economy, a growing national debt, out-of-control federal spending, a disastrous health care plan, the assault on our civil rights and liberties, and a misguided foreign policy,” said Sen. Paul.
“I have drawn attention to these problems and others here in Kentucky, like the War on Coal, an overzealous EPA and Army Corps of Engineers, and the ban on industrial hemp. I have sought to work with any and all who are eager to find solutions and promote reforms. I stand with Kentucky in this fight, and I hope to continue together in the task of repairing and revitalizing our great nation.”
Senate Majority Leader-Elect Mitch McConnell is endorsing Sen. Paul's re-election campaign.
"I am proud to support my friend Rand Paul for his re-election to the U.S. Senate," said Sen. McConnell. "Rand has been an irreplaceable partner in fighting for Kentucky priorities and Kentucky values. His innovative mind for conservative reforms that create jobs and get the economy working again is essential in the U.S. Senate as we seek to reverse Obama policies that have hurt Kentucky families."
Sen. Paul has one of the most active offices on Capitol Hill. Among the issues he has worked on since taking office:
Fixing Kentucky’s Crumbling Infrastructure
Sen. Paul has taken the initiative in fixing Kentucky’s crumbling infrastructure. He has introduced legislation to create a transportation fund for much-needed projects in Kentucky and across the country. Most recently, he introduced the Emergency Transportation Safety Fund Act, which would make infrastructure projects a priority by directing revenues reaped from allowing overseas capital to be repatriated back to the United States at a low five percent tax rate. The money would be placed in a special transportation fund.
Fighting for the Re-introduction of Industrial Hemp in Kentucky
In 2013, Kentucky passed industrial hemp legislation that Sen. Paul helped to promote. The legislation set up a process for the regulation of industrial hemp in Kentucky. Along with a provision in the latest Farm Bill, it resulted in the creation of industrial hemp pilot programs and the first hemp crops to be grown legally in Kentucky in decades. Sen. Paul has also fought for a waiver so that Kentucky may take full advantage of the new law. And he has introduced a bill in the U.S. Senate that would remove the blanket federal restrictions on hemp.
Leading the Fight Against No Child Left Behind
Sen. Paul forced a vote on the repeal of No Child Left Behind (NCLB), a federal takeover of our education system that many Kentucky teachers, administrators and parents oppose. Kentucky was granted a waiver from NCLB, which Sen. Paul supported and applauded.
Introducing Economic Freedom Zones Legislation
Sens. Paul and McConnell introduced the Economic Freedom Zones Act. The legislation provides for the establishment of free market enterprise zones in order to help facilitate the creation of new jobs, entrepreneurial opportunities, enhance and renew educational opportunities and increase community involvement in bankrupt or economically distressed areas. These zones would apply to any zip code with unemployment greater than one and a half times the national average. The proposal would dramatically reduce taxes and red tape so that families and businesses can grow and thrive. The proposal would have a dramatic effect on many communities in Kentucky, including several Eastern Kentucky counties and parts of Louisville.
Passing the Freedom to Fish Act
Sen. Paul, along with Sens. McConnell and Lamar Alexander (R-Tenn.), introduced and passed the Freedom to Fish Act, which prevented the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers from restricting access of the general public to the tailwaters along the Cumberland River. The Army Corps plan would have blocked fishing access to the tailwaters of all the dams along the Cumberland River, including the Barkley and Wolf Creek dams in Kentucky, and hurt the local economy and burdened local businesses.
Averting the Closing of the Hickman River Port
Sen. Paul helped to avert the closing of the Hickman-Fulton County River Port by adamantly pushing for measures that would benefit smaller harbors facing shutdowns. He introduced the Harbor Equity Act, which was co-sponsored by Sen. Lindsey Graham (R-S.C.), and brought attention to the spending priorities of the Army Corps. Funding to dredge the Elvis-Stahr Harbor at the Hickman River Port was eventually announced, allowing commerce to continue through this key inland river port along the Mississippi River.
Protecting Kentucky Small Businesses
Sen. Paul offered legislation in the Senate that would help to restore the balance between small businesses and the Federal Prison Industries (FPI), a wholly owned government enterprise that has tried to take critical business away from Kentucky manufacturers. Sen. Paul’s proposal would bar FPI from contracts reserved for small businesses. Sen. Paul also co-sponsored the Federal Prisons Accountability Act, legislation introduced by Sen. McConnell that would provide greater oversight of FPI.
Fighting for Kentucky’s Defense Communities
Sen. Paul, along with Reps. Ed Whitfield and Brett Guthrie, introduced legislation that would provide a more accurate count of our deployed service members in the national census conducted every 10 years. The Service Members and Communities Act would allow deployed service members to be counted in the communities in which their permanent duty station or home is located on the date of the census. This legislation would have an effect on defense communities like Fort Knox and Fort Campbell.
Defending Kentucky Property Owners
Sen. Paul introduced the Defense of Environment and Property Act to rein in the EPA’s war on private property. Thousands of property owners across America, including in Kentucky, face aggressive action from the EPA and the Army Corps, with no legal means to fight back. His bill would restore common sense to federal jurisdiction over navigable waters and place reasonable limitations on an agency that has become dangerously out of control.
Proposing Government Reforms
Sen. Paul has introduced several measures to reform the federal government. He introduced the Regulations from the Executive in Need of Scrutiny (REINS) Act, which would require Congress to approve every major rule proposed by the Executive Branch which has an annual economic impact of $100 million or more before it can be enforced on the American people. The REINS Act was originally introduced by former Rep. Geoff Davis, who was inspired to write the bill after meeting with a Kentuckian who was concerned about the effect of unfunded EPA mandates on his utility bills.
Sen. Paul has also introduced the Read the Bills Act, Bonuses for Cost-Cutters Act, Write the Laws Act, and One Subject at a Time Act.
Fixing the Criminal Justice System
In Kentucky, Sen. Paul has fought to restore voting rights for non-violent felons who have completed their sentences. In 2014, he testified in front of a Kentucky General Assembly committee in support of House Bill 70, a constitutional amendment that would have given most ex-felons in Kentucky the right to vote. Sen. Paul has also proposed legislation in the Senate that would restore the right to vote for non-violent ex-felons in federal races.
Sens. Paul and Cory Booker (D-N.J.) have teamed-up to introduce the REDEEM Act, a comprehensive bill that would reform the nation’s criminal justice system and give those convicted of non-violent crimes a second chance at the American Dream.
Sen. Paul has also proposed the RESET Act and a bill to reform civil asset forfeitures.
GOP Leaders Endorse Campaign
In addition to Sen. McConnell, all the GOP members of the Kentucky Congressional delegation – Reps. Whitfield, Guthrie, Thomas Massie, Hal Rogers and Andy Barr – are endorsing the campaign.
Republican leaders serving in Frankfort – Kentucky Agriculture Commissioner James Comer, Kentucky Senate President Robert Stivers and House Republican Leader Jeff Hoover – are also backing Sen. Paul's re-election.
Rep. Ed Whitfield (1st District)
“I fully support Sen. Rand Paul in his bid for re-election to the United States Senate. It has been a pleasure to serve with him over the past few years on behalf of our constituents on a variety of issues. His dedication to the Commonwealth of Kentucky and attention to the First District has been exemplary, and I am proud to serve with him in the United States Congress.”
Rep. Brett Guthrie (2nd District)
“I am proud to support Rand for re-election to the U.S. Senate. He has been a national leader in holding the Obama Administration accountable and in growing the Republican Party brand. Rand and I share a policy passion for reducing the size of government, especially in the area of protecting small businesses from overreaching regulations that hamper job creation.”
Rep. Thomas Massie (4th District)
“Sen. Rand Paul inspired me to seek office, and I will continue to stand with him and the other principled conservatives in Washington, D.C. to fight for the people of Kentucky and our nation. Over the past four years, Rand has been a true Constitutional conservative and a fearless advocate for personal liberty, economic freedom, and fiscal responsibility. I am proud to have Sen. Paul represent the Commonwealth in Washington.”
Rep. Hal Rogers (5th District)
“Sen. Paul has proven to be a strong voice for action, opening more interest and discussion for Americans to talk to their legislators than ever before. Together, Senator Paul and I have worked to rein in government overreach and develop better economic opportunities for Kentuckians. Our Commonwealth will continue to benefit from having the power team of Senators McConnell and Paul working together in the Senate and it is a pleasure to support him for re-election.”
Rep. Andy Barr (6th District)
“Kentuckians have benefitted from Rand Paul's vision and hard work in the Senate, and I am proud to endorse his re-election. I look forward to continuing our work to rein in an unaccountable government, control spending in Washington and promote liberty so we can finally get America back on the right track.”
Kentucky Agriculture Commissioner James Comer
“Sen. Rand Paul is an independent leader driving a new and diverse generation into his brand of conservatism. I am honored to support his campaign for re-election.”
Kentucky Senate President Robert Stivers
“Sen. Rand Paul has my support for his re-election bid to the United States Senate. He has proven he is the right person to represent Kentucky. Since Sen. Paul took his seat in the United States senate in 2010, he has found an amazing balance, standing with his party and working closely with his caucus and leaders. At the same time, he challenges the status quo, and continuously asks everyone, including the GOP and its leadership, to do the same. He is an independent and strong voice, without being an obstructionist. Kentucky, and the entire country, benefit from his service.”
Kentucky House Republican Floor Leader Jeff Hoover
“I am glad that Sen. Rand Paul has chosen to seek re-election. Kentucky will be well represented in this new U.S. Senate, as Republicans take the helm. I am confident that Sens. Mitch McConnell and Paul will make a great team and lead our state and nation forward. I am happy to support his re-election efforts.”
### About Sen. Rand Paul:
Elected in 2010, Rand Paul is the junior United States Senator for Kentucky.
A graduate of Duke University School of Medicine, Rand was a practicing ophthalmologist in Bowling Green, Ky., for 17 years.
In 1995, he founded the Southern Kentucky Lions Eye Clinic, an organization that provides eye exams and surgery to needy families and individuals. Today, even as a U.S. Senator, he continues to provide pro-bono eye surgery to Kentuckians in need of care.
Rand has been married for 24 years to Kelley Ashby of Russellville, Ky., and they have three sons.