Paul visits Harlan while on trip across Kentucky

U.S. Senator Rand Paul visited with Rosspoint Elementary School eighth graders and other community members at the Harlan Center on Tuesday while traveling through Kentucky for a variety of events.

Paul discussed various topics with the students, including how both a republic and democracy work, the disadvantages of socialism, his stance on abortion and the staggering debt the U.S. is faced with today.

One community member and veteran stepped forward saying, “The VA MISSION Act, thank you for your help with that, it helped a lot of veterans receive benefits that they normally wouldn’t have.

The veteran mentioned the region is the sixth highest in veteran population in Congressman Hal Rogers’ district, yet the county does not possess a VA facility open to veterans. He said the veterans would have to go to Hazard’s community-based outreach clinic if they wanted to seek medical attention through the VA.

Ultimately, Paul and his team organized to help Harlan County with the issue and began devising a plan to bring representatives from Johnson City, Tenn. or Lexington to the county in order to sign the veterans up to receive their benefits, while also placing Harlan on the list to potentially receive a clinic.

One student also asked, “Do you think we could fix our national debt?”

Paul responded with a solid “yes,” saying the best way to fix it is to “quit adding to it.”

“It’s really hard to tell you how we’re going to get rid of a $22 trillion debt,” Paul said. “I’m not sure I know the answer to that because it is enormous, but the best thing I know is that if you’re in a deep hole and you want out of it, quit digging it deeper. We need to do that with the national debt.”

Paul began explaining that if you have $800 in credit card debt, the first thing you would need to do is stop spending and begin slowly paying it off.

“So, every year the federal government is adding another trillion, so the taxes that everybody pays giving us $3 trillion in taxes, but we’re trying to spend $4 trillion,” Paul said. “It doesn’t work for a family. It won’t work for you and your parents. They have to spend what comes in.”

Paul said balancing the budget is something he favors and when faced when the question of “how,” he said “if you cut spending by two pennies out of a dollar, you could balance up the budget in five to seven years.”

The senator added the federal government needs to stop funding certain projects and that “there is a lot of wasting going on in government,” mentioning odd projects such as a comparison of frog mating calls costing the U.S. around $2 million.

“I think even food programs could go 1 to 2 percent less for a few years for the good of the country,” Paul said. “Most people that come to Washington (D.C.) saying this or that is a great cause, I’ll say, you $100 million last year could you take $99 million this year and most of them will say yes.”

Paul said it often happens in businesses when a bad year occurs and business owners have to cut back on expenditures to survive.

“The government needs to do the same thing. We need to run the government like a business, where you have to balance what you spend,” Paul said.

Paul also gave the opening keynote address at the Federalist Society’s State Convention in Frankfort on Monday.

Paul then traveled to Morehead to hold a special field hearing entitled “Squeezed at Both Ends: Federal Spending Resulting from Restrictive Logging Access and Timber Tariffs” with the Federal Spending Oversight and Emergency Management (FSO) Subcommittee for the Homeland Security and Governmental Affairs Committee (HSGAC). The hearing focused on the timber industry and its relationship with the federal agencies to enhance regional economic development.

Paul then attended a roundtable with local leaders in Ashland, Pikeville, Hazard, Harlan and Somerset.

For more information about Paul, go to www.paul.senate.gov.