Tribune-Courier News Reporter
AURORA – Local Republicans gathered Friday night at the Kenlake Tennis Center to enjoy politics, fellowship and a catered catfish buffet at the annual Night Before Fancy Farm.
State representatives joined local judges and commissioners for a brief meet-and-greet before dinner was served.
Shortly after everyone settled into their seats, the keynote speaker, Sen. Rand Paul, casually strolled in wearing jeans and a button-down shirt.
“It is great to be home and out of that cesspool they call Washington,” he said.
Paul also remarked that one of the great things about being “home” is that he’s not required to wear a suit and tie, he can be himself.
His message for the Republican party: “Let’s be bigger, bolder and better.”
Paul reminded his faithful followers that Republicans are the party of the Constitution, the Bill of Rights, of civil rights and voting rights.
He said the party needs to figure out how to reach people who have been excluded from conservative efforts in order for the party to grow.
Paul mentioned meeting with minority leaders in Hopkinsville and Louisville who told Paul, “We’re glad to see you competing for our vote because the Democrats are taking us for granted.”
“This is going to be the year when we show them [minorities] that we are going out for everybody’s vote,” Paul said.
He said our country needs criminal justice reform, economic opportunity and education reform.
Paul is widely anticipated to be a presidential candidate in 2016. During his address he took the opportunity to call likely Democratic opponent Hilary Clinton unqualified for the post as commander-in-chief.
Paul pointed to the disaster in Benghazi and said it is a result of Clinton’s lack of concern and lack of control of her staff.
He claimed to have said to her, “If you’re not in charge enough of the state’s department to be in charge of the people who work for you and you don’t read the cables from one of the most dangerous spots on Earth, frankly, you’ve precluded yourself from ever being commander-in-chief of this of this country.”
Paul’s message ended with a formula for Republicans to become the predominant party in America.
“We need to present our message with a smile, with optimism, with something that beckons people to come to us because it’s the place to be...we’re going to create an economy so good that everyone will have a job or the opportunity if they wish.”