Senator Rand Paul talks to U of L & Manual students at town hall meeting

Nathan Foster, News Director

Kentucky Senator Rand Paul held a town hall meeting at the University of Louisville on Sept. 5 as part of the university’s “Conservative Week.” The special event was organized by the College Republican Club. Manual students of varying political affiliations were in attendance at the speech, with some receiving special privileges.

The members of the Teen Republicans and some of the Young Democrats were allowed to have a meet-and-greet session with the senator, along with reserved front-and-center seating for the talk.

The talk left differing impressions. “I went for extra credit for Mr. Holman’s [AP Govt. & Politics] class,” Austin Putty (12) said. “I don’t necessarily agree with [Senator Paul’s views] but he seemed more genuine than other politicians.”

Patrick Wells (12), a member of the Teen Republicans, believed Senator Paul’s talk was effective. “I thought that Senator Rand Paul did a very good job on expressing his political ideals in a way that was both straightforward and persuading by backing up each of his points with why he believed his stance on whatever issue would be the best for Kentucky.”

Joseph Demarco (12), a Young Democrats member, heard something very different from the senator. “If his goal was to connect with the youth represented by the university students, I have to say he was unsuccessful,” he said. Demarco said that Paul’s attitude left something to be desired as well. “[Paul] gave off a vibe that he did not particularly want to be at the meeting, frowning throughout the speech.”

The biggest topic in Senator Paul’s talk was the economy, both its current state and what can be done to improve it. He said the most urgent matter facing the economy are the problems with entitlement programs, like Social Security or Medicare. He also laid out his solution for them, saying that we can cut spending by raising the entrance age for the programs.

Paul spent the other portion of the talk on his general views on the government and how it can work best. His Tea Party values were evident as he talked about the importance of small government and the vision of the founding fathers, one where people aren’t constricted by government. His talk still held a lot of optimism about the United States and its future, describing America as still “as free a place and one where success can be found.”

When the meeting shifted to a question and answer, attendees asked Senator Paul questions ranging from his opinion on Occupy Wall Street to his views on abortion. He also answered questions about the state of higher education and how we can fix the increasing costs of college. His opinion was that college has become an over-stimulated and subsidized, and that we may need to reconsider whether everyone should go to college.

Senator Paul’s talk ended promptly after an hour and he left with a backdrop of a torrential rain.

Chase Cannon contributed to this article.