Here are 3 reasons black Americans should support Rand Paul

After the mid-term elections all eyes will be on 2016. Former Secretary of State Hillary Clinton has become the favorite to win the Democratic nomination but there is no clear consensus candidate on the Republican side.

But for black Americans, there is one conservative Republican who actively engages our community that African-Americans should consider.

Rand Paul, an ophthalmologist by profession, is the junior U.S. Senator from Kentucky. Over the last few years, Senator Paul has been one of the few (probably only) prominent Republican and 2016 contender reaching out to the black community and other groups that most Republicans generally dismiss or ignore.

This is not merely politicking. There is substance to Paul’s efforts, and he has put action to words with policy proposals that are starting to gain steam in many different states and at the federal level.

Here are three.

1. Ending the war or drugs

Racial profiling has become far worse due to the war on drugs and the psychological bind it creates for all parties involved–from the officers who sometimes use profiling to the average perp who is picked up for possession or trafficking. The U.S.’s high prison rate, something that directly affects the black community, is unquestionably fueled primarily by our federal drug laws. The war on drugs has broken up homes, robbed black America of countless labor hours and gains and helped fuel poverty in black communities.

It is no secret that black Americans are incarcerated at a much higher rate than any other racial group in America. As a Senator, Paul has already been outspoken on the need to end mandatory minimum sentencing and restoring voting rights to ex-felons. A President Paul could potentially do even more.

If president, Paul would seek to limit and abolish the war on drugs in ways which would both largely take away many profiling tools from bad cops. It would also significantly reduce the threat of black families being torn apart over generally harmless and victimless crimes.

Any politician, and particularly a president, who could take great steps to end the war on drugs would have a direct impact on black America in wide and reaching ways.

2. Rebuilding the black economy

Rand Paul is a proponent of rebuilding local economies without outside stimulus by allowing the money and commerce that is produced locally to stay local. The same way we should not “rob Peter to pay Paul”, we should not rob Atlanta to pay for Detroit: “The answer to poverty and unemployment is not another government bailout. It is simply leaving more money in the hands of those who earned it,” Paul said, speaking to the Detroit Economic Club last December.

Senator Paul has suggested the creation of enterprise zones that would help spur economic growth locally. The idea is to lower tax rates in places experiencing economic strife so members of economically depressed communities can grow themselves out of a depression or recession. They can do this with their own dollars rather than sending that money to Washington to be wasted.

In the black community, there are many who bemoan the lack of black-owned businesses. A President Paul could push policies that would improve that situation.

3. Education reform

“I’m talking about opening up all of the lines, so that kids can go to public, to private, wherever,” said Paul in July. “Some of these schools are absolutely pitiful, absolutely. What I’m really proposing is helping these kids get out from the grind.”

One of the major problems for many communities of color is the lack of adequate education facilities and resources. There is often unnecessary zoning and lack of competition within the “education marketplace” and many families do not have the resources to send their children to a private school.

Rand Paul is a strong supporter of school choice, believing decisions on a child’s education should be made by the parents and executed at the local level.

Schools that are failing many black and brown children today would get their act together immediately when they realize their monopoly on the education of the children within their radius is gone–and with it, their guaranteed funding. A President Paul would help provide parents with the options they need to make sure their child gets a quality education and has a brighter future.

***

Many different candidates will emerge as the 2016 presidential race shapes up. But Senator Rand Paul is one black Americans should seriously consider.

Rand Paul may not be a Tom Joyner, Steve Harvey, Rickey Smiley, or Joe Madisonendorsed candidate, but he is a candidate that has, and will continue, to put action behind his words. Few other leaders are willing to put solutions on the table to match the platitudes we so often hear, particularly solutions that could directly benefit black Americans.

Rand Paul deserves an honest look from black America. So let’s give him one.

A version of this column originally appeared at HBCUBuzz (Historically Black Colleges and Universities).


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