Op-Ed

Presidential race not distracting from Senate work

Republican presidential candidate Sen. Rand Paul, R-Ky., speaks during a Friday campaign event in Ottumwa, Iowa.
Republican presidential candidate Sen. Rand Paul, R-Ky., speaks during a Friday campaign event in Ottumwa, Iowa. The Associated Press

It is my honor and pleasure to serve as your senator. I ran pledging to fight for smaller, constitutional government. I ran pledging to fight President Barack Obama’s war on coal and to take on his higher taxes, regulation, and healthcare takeover. I ran pledging to be a voice of reason on foreign policy and a voice of clarity on liberty. I pledged to work with both sides of the aisle.

I’m proud to say that these last five years I’ve kept every one of those pledges as I’ve served Kentucky.

I’m running for president and have been for nearly a year. And I’ve done my job as your senator every step of the way. While others simply abandoned their jobs to run, I did mine, working all week in the Senate and campaigning largely on weekends — making 95 percent of my votes, a higher percentage than most senators who weren’t running for president.

I am running for president for the same reason I am your senator: to fight for you, for our country and for our rights.

We don’t yet know where that will take me, but as others look at running for Senate against me, I want to remind them, and you, that I have done my job well, done it with Kentucky in mind, and done it exactly how I said I would do it.

You don't have to wonder where I stand, and that’s quite rare in politics.

It’s also important to know what it means for me to be in office versus an opponent from the party of Harry Reid and Obama.

Whether it is his war on coal, his out-of-control Environmental Protection Agency, his government takeover of health care, his assault on the Second Amendment or his bungling of foreign policy, Obama has been a disaster. (And he had plenty of help from his liberal ally Reid as majority leader.)

Regardless of whether a Republican like me is in the White House in 2016 or another one of Obama’s liberal friends is elected, the message is clear: We need a Republican Senate more than ever.

If you want your rights to be in the hands of people who believe in Kentucky values you need a Republican Senate. It’s really as simple as that.

Any Democrat, no matter how independent they may claim to be, or how far they may try to run from the national party of Obama, Reid, and Hillary Clinton, they won’t succeed in their games of deception. They would caucus and vote with their party, thus endorsing and pushing forward a liberal agenda myself and other Republicans have fought so hard against.

There are good conservative Democrats in Kentucky. Many of them voted for me last time and I intend to earn their vote again this time. But make no mistake, those conservative or independent Democrats don’t exist in Washington. They get swallowed up into the liberal Washington machine that fights against our values every day.

I’ll leave you with this. By no means am I saying that we should not work with our colleagues across the aisle. I’m incredibly proud of the important bipartisan work I’ve done with my fellow senators – like fighting for criminal justice reform by co-sponsoring the REDEEM Act with New Jersey Sen. Cory Booker, and supporting New York Sen. Kirsten Gillibrand’s Military Justice Improvement Act, which would provide judicial recourse to victims of sexual assault in the military.

But if Kentuckians want to continue to have their values and liberties represented, we need to go forth into this election year with our eyes open, not clouded by the misleading rhetoric that will almost surely be spoken by those seeking to replace one of your strongest advocates.

I’m proud of the work I’ve done for Kentucky as your senator, and I will happily put my record up against anyone.

Kentucky Sen. Rand Paul is running for re-election and for the presidency.

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