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Sen. Rand Paul talks National Right to Work Act, schools, vaccine, re-election, COVID relief

13 News reporter Kelly Dean speaks with Sen. Rand Paul (R-KY) in an exclusive one-on-one...
13 News reporter Kelly Dean speaks with Sen. Rand Paul (R-KY) in an exclusive one-on-one interview.(WBKO)
Published: Feb. 25, 2021 at 7:28 PM EST
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BOWLING GREEN, Ky. (WBKO) - 13 News sat down virtually with Senator Rand Paul Thursday morning as he discussed a variety of topics including the National Right to Work Act, schools re-opening, vaccine, re-election, and COVID relief.

Q: Your National Right to Work Act was reintroduced. What is the goal of this legislation and how does it impact the worker?

A: “You know, we have about 26 states that are right to work Kentucky’s right to work. And we became it a couple of years ago because it encourages businesses to located in your community and in your state. An example is Boeing was out in Washington State, but they couldn’t afford to expand because the union was having wages, they thought were above the market wage. So they moved to South Carolina, which was the right to work at their non-union there. And they’re able to compete worldwide. You know, Boeing’s competitors are a lot of them overseas. And so it’s helped them in Kentucky, it’s helped me to attract businesses, what I’d like to do is not have just half the USB right to work, why don’t we have the whole USB right to work, and then we’ll be a beacon to the world for people to come and do business in our country. The law, what it does is doesn’t add any new law just takes away some of the law from the 30s and 40s. And lets workers be part of a business. And if they don’t want to be part of the Union, the union can’t force them to be fired.”

Q: The House will vote on the American Rescue Plan (1.9T) Friday. Republicans are ensuring no one in their party vote for it. What are your thoughts on the legislation and do you think will happen?

A: “I think it sort of exemplifies that President Biden was for fake unity. You know, he said he was going to have bipartisanship and unity in his inaugural and many on the left sides at Oh, house rate, we finally have unity and a nice president and all this. And yet, what’s the first thing he does, he tells republicans my way or the highway kicks him out of the White House, that bill is going to be done with only democrat votes, and it’s going to be $2 trillion of borrowed money. And what that means is it dilutes the value of the money that you have. So your currency becomes worth less, and eventually, prices will rise, and ultimately leads to the boom and bust cycle. Because all that money being printed right now, a lot of it’s going into the stock market in the stock market shooting up. And does that mean these companies are more valuable? No, it means we just have more money. And so people are spending in the stock market because they can’t get any money in a savings account. They all you know, when you start hearing all your friends saying, Hey, did you buy GameStop, you need to worry that something crazy is going on, there’s a craze, a mania, and that’s created from all the new money, but along with the boom will come the bust. And so when the bust comes, then you have a significant problem and you have liquidation of jobs and you’ll have unemployment. So I worry that all this borrowed money is going to lead to vast unemployment ultimately.”

Q: Why do you think increasing the minimum wage is a disservice to our young generation? Some have argued it would help the lower middle class struggling to make ends meet on a low minimum wage?

A: “[It’s] one of those things that sounds good on the surface. If you make $12 an hour, which is a tough way to live and you make that and you have to support a family, you’re like, well, gosh, I’ll do much better on 15. But the question you have to ask is -- will you still have your job and 15 Some will some won’t. The Congressional Budget Office, which is not a republican office, it’s very much a governmental office, estimates between one and 3 million people that lose their jobs. So when you make the wage above what the market dictates, more people lose their jobs. But interestingly, the people who lose the jobs most are teenagers, and particularly Black teenagers. And your first job is incredibly important and teaches you work ethic, all three of my boys worked minimum wage, they delivered pizza in Bowling Green, and it’s good for them. You know, they had their own money, they learned to spend and save their money, and they learn to show up on time, and that gets them their next job. If you don’t get the first job, you may not get the second job and you won’t learn that work ethic. And really, that’s where our self-esteem comes from is performing and doing well in our job, whether it is delivering pizza, working in the media, being in Congress, being a doctor, lawyer, that’s what we get our self-esteem is by working hard and then succeeding. And so I worry that we’ll exclude people from the workplace. They may never get into the workplace, and then they become sort of a dependency. So the minimum wage sounds good but in the end hurts people.”

Q: Only six districts in KY have not returned to some form of in-person learning. Do you think Kentucky has been a good model for handling how schools operate during the pandemic?

A: “I think we’ve been incredibly slow and I blame Governor Beshear. I’ve been saying for nine months, there’s no evidence of surge. There’s no evidence of a really increased death rate among teachers. My little sister’s a teacher brand new, she’s already had COVID. And why would we tell teachers already had it not to teach. And yet, that’s the push and the mantra from everybody, ‘oh, it’s too dangerous, it’s too dangerous.’ But then it’s morphed into other things. Some of these people are saying they’re not going back to we get rid of cars and fossil fuels and till the Green New Deal comes into play. So I think we need to teach our kids. I mean, it’s sad, I read every day of kids committing suicide, also read of poor kids whose parents either don’t have the time or the ability to teach them at home, and they’re being lost another year. I mean, one of the great equalizing forces is the people watching your show-- if you’re poor in Bowling Green, if your kid goes and works hard in school, your kid might the next generation do very well. But they’re only getting there to school. And if the teachers won’t teach your kids and your kid didn’t go to school for a year, guess what your kid’s prospects go way down. And so I think it’s a real disservice to the poor and underprivileged in particular, who can’t afford to get their kids into a private school. If the public schools won’t open, you’re right, they are starting to open. But Governor Beshear has been way too slow in this and we got to get them all open. We can protect the teachers, if there’s a vulnerable teacher, an older teacher, or a teacher that has some vulnerabilities, I think we’ve tried to get them the vaccine as much as we can. But we couldn’t just say and wait and say, oh, every 28-year-old teachers’ got to have the vaccine before we go back. I mean, that’s crazy. And that includes my niece who’s young and healthy, and already had it. Frankly, you know, I think there are things we can do better. And I think schools need to open.

Q: Do you think it was right that Gov. Beshear prioritized teachers to get the vaccine?

A: “I think the priority the priorities for a vaccine that makes sense would be the elderly. When you have vaccinated all the elderly, you can go to the next round. I wouldn’t have vaccinated 28-year-old volunteer fire department guys who are all you know, in great shape. I just wouldn’t have done it, not because I dislike them but because I know their risk for getting the disease and dying is almost zero. Until you vaccinate everybody in their 80s and 70s. You really shouldn’t vaccinate younger people, frankly. Then I would prioritize firemen, police teachers. But after you do the elderly, I really frankly wouldn’t do any young people. I mean, the elderly are the ones dying from this. And your death rate goes down dramatically. And eventually, everybody’s going to get the vaccine, but we’re talking about a couple months of a delay. And I would just prioritize based on age because that’s where the real death rate is.”

Q: Will you get the vaccine?

A: “I’ve had it. Out of the 28 million people have had it in our country, a handful may have had it a second time. That’s pretty good odds if you say the 28 million people had it and you know, 50, maybe 100, maybe 200 people out of 28 million might have gotten it again. And I say might of because there’s only a handful that are proven. Those are pretty good odds. And so the thing is, is I look at it one-- I have some immunity, whether it’s perfect or not, nobody knows. But what I do have is also the common sense that I’m not going to take it before a 70-year-old takes it because I think that would be taking a vaccine and appropriately the same way. I don’t think 25-year-old teachers should take it, a 58-year-old politician shouldn’t take it before 75 or an 80-year-old also. And I do know people have died from this in Bowling Green and in other parts of the state who are good friends of mine. And I just think people their age need to get the vaccine before I do. And in all likelihood, the people who get it if you get it a second time, which is exceedingly rare, end up with milder asymptomatic cases, because you’ve been basically vaccinated by having it once. So, no, I’ll wait and see what everybody else has had in a year. If it’s still around, I might, you know, get a vaccine. But I’m, I’m not going to jump the line.”

Q: You’ve been a proponent of term limits (2 total for U.S. Senate). Do you plan on running for a third term? If yes, why?

A: “I am a fan of term limits. It would take a constitutional amendment and the term limits would then be for everyone. I’m not in favor of term limits for some and not others. So I’m not in favor of people self-imposing term limits. And yes, I have decided to run again. I’m a co-sponsor of the constitutional amendment, but I will run again in 2022. And we’re excited to get back started, you know, really looking and going around and traveling. COVID is kind of limited our travel somewhat because we’ve not wanted to increase the risk of people. But I’m hoping within a month that the numbers have dramatically gone down and we’re going to get back to our normal travel schedule around Kentucky. But yes, I will be running in 2022.″

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