Sen. Rand Paul (R-Ky.) will travel to Detroit Friday to open the Michigan Republican Party’s inner-city outreach office and unveil his plan to “help Detroit bail themselves out.”
The freshman senator told TheBlaze Wednesday he thinks the opening of the African American Engagement Office will help the Republican Party make headway in one of America’s firmest Democratic strongholds.
“I think throughout the U.S. the Republican Party does well in the small towns and rural areas, but the large cities we haven’t been doing very well,” said Paul, who is widely expected to make a bid for the White House in 2016. “I think it is important we establish a presence in those cities, set up offices, meet people, find out what is going on in their community and then try to come up with solutions.”
The libertarian firebrand said he thinks simply becoming engaged in Detroit’s community will be a large step in spreading the GOP’s message of economic freedom to a city that in 2012 saw nearly 100 percent of individuals vote to re-elect President Barack Obama.
“I think having a presence — you get to know people, you attend churches, social gatherings, picnics, things like that,” Paul said. “So presence is one.”
Brittney Morrett, who works at the conservative LIBRE initiative and is charged with promoting free-market principles to minority youths, said she agrees with the strategy.
“Rand is right that conservatives need to be in urban areas; but messaging is crucial. Conservatives need to go into these communities with solutions and culturally aware messaging that people can relate to,” Morrett said. “It is imperative to articulate how conservative principles enrich the lives of everyone – whether you’re a wealthy CEO with a house in the Hamptons, or a struggling single mother living on Mack Ave. in Detroit.”
A spokesman for the Republican National Committee echoed that sentiment.
“We’re happy Senator Paul realizes how important these engagement efforts are and is joining the Michigan GOP in Detroit – a great opportunity for Republicans to reach potential voters,” Orlando Watson, the RNC’s communications director for black media, said in a statement to TheBlaze.
While in Detroit, Paul will also speak to the Detroit Economic Club and unveil a plan to convert Detroit into an “economic freedom zone” — an idea he says is modeled after Jack Kemp’s “enterprise zones.”
The senator will propose measures that would lower personal and corporate taxes to 5 percent, eliminate the capital gains tax, and lessen red tape to make it easier to start and maintain a business.
“What we are saying is we are going to help Detroit bail themselves out and that’s by leaving more of the money that they actually earn in Detroit,” Paul said. “The big difference between this and a government stimulus is, we are not going to pick who gets the money. The consumer picks.”
Paul said he predicts an uphill political battle, but thinks the people of Detroit will be open to his ideas.
“We have tried government stimulus before,” Paul said. “The government stimulus plan has not been working.”
“So I think when you see things that aren’t working and you see Detroit with nearly 18 percent unemployment, I think maybe people will be open to new solutions,” he continued, adding he thinks he will “find people receptive of this.”
Despite Paul’s enthusiasm, he admitted that he has been unable to garner any additional support for his proposal so far.
“I’ve been mentioning it to some Democrats and some who are representatives from Michigan and we haven’t got anybody on board yet, but we are going to keep promoting it and see what they say,” Paul said. “But many Democrats don’t believe in the individual or businesses or lower taxes. They think we should tax the successful business and give it to new businesses … but that just doesn’t work.”
Nevertheless, he remains optimistic.
“What I am talking about is a way to help Detroit bail themselves out,” he said. “I think it makes imminent sense.”
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