Sen. Paul hopes to see substantive debate when Trump, Clinton square off Monday night

09/26/2016 07:18 PM

LOUISVILLE — U.S. Sen. Rand Paul says he wants to see Donald Trump differentiate himself from Hillary Clinton when they square off in what’s expected to be the highest-rated presidential debate in history Monday evening.

An audience estimated at up to 100 million will watch as Clinton, the Democratic nominee, and Trump, the Republican standard bearer, clash on a debate stage for the first time.

Paul, who debated Trump as a GOP presidential hopeful, said the New York real estate mogul’s personality sets him apart in debates.

“I think that personality comes through on stage, but I think really people are going to want to see substance,” said Paul, noting the differences between the energy policies proposed by Trump and Clinton and how they would impact Kentucky’s coal industry.

Paul, who faces Lexington Mayor Jim Gray in the Nov. 8 election, expects the one-on-one format for Monday’s debate to spark more substantive debate than the multi-candidate free-for-alls seen during the Republican primary, where presidential hopefuls were trying to gain exposure.

“People are wanting to try to find out who really has the wisdom and judgment to be commander-in-chief, and so it’s presence, it’s appearance, but I’m hoping they get deeper into issues than we were able to when we had 16 or 17 on the stage,” Paul said.

Paul’s remarks followed a visit to Caudill Seed Co., where he promoted his legislative efforts at criminal justice reform.

Caudill Seed has partnered with community groups like Volunteers of America and The Healing Place to find work for people in dire straits, such as ex-felons looking to find their place in society and those trying to overcome their battles with addiction.

A number of workers shared their struggles with Paul during a roundtable discussion with more than a dozen employees.

Michael Cox recounted detoxing at The Healing Place before moving to another treatment program and then starting with Caudill Seed as a temp. He’s been working there for nine years.

“I have custody of my 5-year-old son, and my life is great,” Cox said.

Gary Hardin says he’s been sober for 13 years after spending the first 27 years of his life in and out of trouble because of his past addictions to drugs and alcohol.

“I own my own home today,” he said. “I’m driving a nice car. I’ve got a wonderful relationship back with my daughter when I neglected her for the first 15 years of her life. I have four beautiful grandbabies that I love dearly.”

“I threw 27 years of my life away, to drugs and alcohol” Hardin continued. “I don’t want that no more, and that’s why I continue to do what I do every day.”

Paul said steady work will help keep felons from reoffending, but more can be done to help prisoners avoid a repeat behind bars.

He’s co-sponsor of the REDEEM Act with Sen. Cory Booker, D-N.J., that would, in part, make it easier for those convicted of nonviolent crimes have their records sealed. He’s also working with retiring Senate Minority Leader Harry Reid, D-Nev., on legislation that would restore federal voting rights for some nonviolent offenders.

“I think it’s like anything else,” Paul said. “Let’s base things on behavior.. If people are trying to do the right thing, let’s have a reward out there. Voting should be a reward. Getting rid of your record should be a reward.”

Kevin Wheatley

Kevin Wheatley is a reporter for Pure Politics. He joined cn|2 in September 2014 after five years at The State Journal in Frankfort, where he covered Kentucky government and politics. You can reach him at or 502-792-1135 and follow him on Twitter at @KWheatley_cn2.



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