HAZARD — United States Senator and Presidential Candidate Rand Paul was the special guest speaker at Kentucky Coal Association’s Coal Forum held at Hazard City Hall on Nov. 24. This was one of seven town hall meetings that Sen. Paul attended over the course of a few days within the state. Sen. Brandon Smith and State Rep. Fitz Steele also attended the forum, with members of the coal industry and business affected by the coal regulations.
Sen. Brandon Smith introduced Sen. Paul, and Sen. Paul gave a short speech to those in attendance before the coal forum took place. He told the audience that the coal industry and those affected by President Barack Obama’s coal regulations to lawfully resist those policies. He told the crowd ways that he feels Kentucky could successfully resist.
He mentioned that he took part in a rally for then Gubernatorial Candidate Matt Bevin just before the election called “Rally to Resist” and he feels it is important for citizens to get together and figure out how they can lawfully resist President Obama’s coal regulations. Sen. Paul said that Kentucky is tired of complaining and now is the time to get things done about it.
Sen. Paul explains, “What I do mean by resist? I think it is time we resist. I think it is time for Hazard to resist, and I think it is time for Frankfort to resist. We need to do it in a real and meaningful way. By resist, I mean, lets challenge them at every venue. In every court. In every possible location, lets challenge the federal government.”
He pointed out that almost all of rules being pushed on coal, are being done by executive order and by those in the executive branch. Sen. Paul believes that this is done incorrectly.
“I represent you in the Senate. I am one of two people represent you in the Senate. I don’t get to vote on any of these regulations. Every regulation that has killed coal has been done by the president. You know where to put the blame, but let us stand up to him. Lets stand up to him and say ‘This isn’t the way it is supposed to be done’,” said Sen. Paul.
Sen. Paul explained that when the republic was founded, the branches of government were supposed to have equal amounts of power. He believes that Congress is the ugly stepchild of President Obama.
“He (President Obama) kicks us, he steps on us and he does whatever he wants, ” said Sen. Paul.
He feels strongly that Congress and the state needs to stand up to President Obama, and he hopes Gov.-elect Matt Bevin will take the charge when he is sworn in on Dec. 8.
One of the ways Congress and Kentucky could resist, Sen. Paul says is to sue the federal government.
The way Sen. Paul believes that the coal industry could be brought back is by having someone in the White House who would on day one of their presidency get rid of all of the President Obama’s regulations on coal.
The room full of people gave Sen. Paul a deafening applause after he made that statement.
Sen. Paul also said that Kentucky has to look at other opportunities to bring back coal industry. One of the things that Sen. Paul mentioned was that Kentucky could do something at the state level.
He has an idea how Kentucky could do something that would rejuvenate the coal industry with his “Economic Freedom Zones” plan.
Under Sen. Paul’s plan, he says he would promote job creation by reducing taxes, educational enhancements to improve local opportunities and workforce, reduce the regulatory burden on cities and encourage community assistance and rebuilding.
TJ Caudill can be reached at 606-436-5771 or on Twitter @HazardHerald.