By Sam Rabuck
Presidential candidate and Kentucky Sen. Rand Paul spoke to a crowd of about 200 in the MUB’s Strafford Room Monday morning.
The republican got right down to business as he touched on issues like punishment for the possession and sale of marijuana, the government’s collection of phone records and credit card statements, as well as foreign affairs, calling the first war in Iraq “a mistake.”
Paul feels as though his ideologies are in sync with students at UNH and throughout the country.
“I think the government shouldn’t be collecting your phone records, and I think most young people would agree with me,” Paul said. “I think the government shouldn’t be putting people in jail for minor marijuana offenses, and I think students agree with me there. I also don’t think the government should be sending you all off to another war in Iraq. I think those are three big issues that a lot of students will agree with me on.”
Paul stated in his speech that his stance on these issues is what separates him from other candidates in the election.
Sophomore Jake Werner hasn’t yet decided who he is voting for in the primary election, but he did mention that he was in favor of some of Paul’s takes on civil liberty issues.
“The fact that a candidate from a party with an ideological background that we wouldn’t normally consider as compassionate towards these types of issues is talking about it and saying that it’s a major problem that really needs to be solved is good to see,” Werner said. “I’m looking forward to hearing what he adds to the campaign, and if he’s elected what policies he’ll introduce.”
The issue of climate change has been a relevant topic for many students at UNH. This is especially the case for junior Student Environmental Action Coalition member Griffin Sinclair-Wingate.
When Paul opened the floor up to questions from the audience, Sinclair-Wingate was quick to ask about climate change and inquired about the candidate’s thoughts on the matter.
Paul replied to the question by stating, “So, the first thing I think we would all admit if we were to have a dispassionate argument or a discussion of this, is that nature has some effect, and man may well have some effect. I think what we’ve gotten though, is a point in time where people have become alarmists about this and apocalyptic.”
Sinclair-Wingate said that he was pleased to hear Paul admit that man has, at the very least, played some role in climate change.
“I was really happy to hear Rand Paul say that climate change is being caused by fossil fuels,” Sinclair-Wingate said. “A lot of the candidates out there talk, at least on the Democratic side, about how we need to promote renewables and stuff, but it’s two sides to the same point if you really want to address climate change. We need to promote renewables, but we also need to start phasing out fossil fuels.”
Sinclair-Wingate did state, however, that he felt Paul didn’t adequately answer the second part of his question, which was whether or not he supported fossil fuel divestment at UNH.
With the final questions asked and the last few photographs with the candidate taken, Paul made his way toward the exit. He took off his blazer, put on his sunglasses and declared it was “too pretty of a day to be working” as the senator entered the backseat of a black Chevrolet Suburban.