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Senator Paul Visits County

Tackles National Concerns

By Shane Gilreath

A day after Senator Rand Paul met with regional Superintendents on student safety, McCreary County citizens reiterated many concerns that reverberate across the nation last Thursday, when Kentucky’s Junior Senator held a community forum in Stearns. Dozens gathered at American Legion Post 115 to hear Paul, an ophthalmologist from Bowling Green, praise monoclonal antibody treatment in America’s fight against COVID-19. The senator had scathing words, however, for the Biden Administration’s handling of the on-going pandemic, as well as the crisis in Afghanistan, which, at times, brought applause from the crowd.

The fallout over Biden’s controversial retreat from Afghanistan was evident in Paul’s harsh reprimand, despite the president calling the withdrawal an extraordinary success just days before. While questioning whether the United States plays an ultimate role in nation building, which drew clear approval from those in attendance, Paul called Biden’s Afghan crisis a disservice to all those who serve in uniform, stating that the United States should have better equipped the people of Afghanistan, a landlocked country in South Asia, to defend their own interest in the face of what a June intelligence report called an assurance that the Afghan government would fall to the Taliban within six months of the United States’ withdrawal.

The Republican senator also expressed concern over Congressional spending, amounting in record breaking borrowing, which measured $3 trillion in one single quarter during 2020 and another $5 trillion in 2021.

“The federal government could learn lessons from local governments,” Paul said, taking a common sense approach to government spending. “Spend what comes in,” he continued, saying many believe we have a printing press and should keep printing money, which, ultimately, Paul warned, leads to inflation, where the impact is felt hardest in low income families.

Instead, Paul encouraged Americans to spend 1% less in their personal lives, rather than rely on the government to print money. “Nothing is ever given to us,” Paul told the crowd.

Upon opening the forum to audience participation, Roger Owens, who has long served as a McCreary County advocate for children, inquired of Paul’s feelings on mask mandates in schools.

“Dr. Fauci says follow the science,” Paul responded, drawing laughs from the audience, citing Dr. Anthony Fauci, an American physician-scientist and immunologist, who serves as the chief medical advisor to President Biden. “But,“ Paul said, “ (Fauci) doesn’t follow the science.”

“Most masks don’t work, “ the senator said. “Cloth masks do not filter out the virus.” The virus is smaller than the holes in a cloth mask, according to Paul, a 1988 graduate of Duke University School of Medicine.

The senator says he believes the COVID-19 risk to school age children remains low, saying one in a million under the age of 25 will die from the virus, though he continued to warn that certain groups do remain at high risk, including those over the age of 65, who the senator continues to encourage to receive vaccinations.

“I’m not here to tell you what to do,“ Paul told the crowd, to a thunderous ovation, stating he didn’t believe the government should mandate mask usage, but rather believes parents and children should decide whether to wear masks in schools.

“Monoclonal antibodies will save your life with an 85% reduction in death and hospitalization, ” Paul said, referencing the little known treatment that he has championed in the past. Monoclonal antibody treatment is designed to block the virus’ attachment and entry into the cell and has proven effective, according to Paul, in early cases of COVID-19. 

“The government should be telling you that,” he said.

When asked about the on-going struggles of the coal industry, Paul said that coal should remain a part of the energy solution, but that the industry struggles against federal inspections and regulations and that he would prefer that coal producing states, like Kentucky, should regulate the industry themselves, likening it to local usage of federal lands, a topic that last brought the senator to McCreary County.

When The Voice asked if the senator was pleased with the progress of local usage since hosting a Congressional Field Hearing in Stearns, in 2019, he stated he would need to have a conversation with local government. Judge Greene later told The Voice that the issue had seen improvement.

Attorney and radio personality Darlene Price ended local participation, by quoting Lt. Governor Jacqueline Coleman, who concurrently serves as Kentucky Secretary of Education and Workforce Development, and, as such, is an ex-officio member of the State Board of Education, as advocating mask and vaccine mandates for school age children, including those who play sports, despite what Price called Pfizer’s poor reputation with the Department of Justice.

“Failing to implement a mask requirement, in my opinion, is negligent,” Coleman said, following the board’s extension of school mask mandates into 2022.

In responding to Price, Paul questioned the rationale in mandates, stating that seasonal flu is more dangerous for school aged children, and questioned the logic behind educational and sports bans in taxpayer funded schools.

Paul concluded by talking about social media and big tech fact checkers, saying that he didn’t need them to tell him the facts about COVID-19, advocating a more sensible approach and an allowance for disagreement, stating that both he and a Biden advisor, Michael Osterholm, director for Infectious Disease, Research, and Policy, had given the same advice on cloth masks with different reactions from social media giant, YouTube, and that, according to Paul, the continued advocacy of cloth mask usage is actually “misinformation.”

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