National Security & Our Veterans

 

I’ve learned as Mayor the importance of Public Safety, that’s why it has been my number one priority since taking office. My administration has invested far more in public safety than ever in the city’s history. And while everything certainly is not perfect, Lexington is recognized as the safest city our size in the country.

We need the same sense of security across the country and a sense of urgency in Washington. Too many politicians talk about the importance of keeping our country safe while taking little action. That’s not how I work.

My goal as a US Senator is simple: to be constructive and be a part of solving Kentucky’s biggest challenges. To do that we must have a safe and secure country.

 

I believe our government has no greater responsibility than to keep our country safe. Because America is the leader of the free world, I believe in a strong role for the United States in shaping the course of world events.

 

Right now, the world needs American leadership more than ever. Threats from ISIS, a resurgent Russia, and a rapidly growing China must be met by a strong, confident America. Yet this year many politicians are asking us to think small. To retreat from global leadership, and abandon our allies abroad.

 

As we create greater opportunity here at home, we must continue our leadership in creating greater economic opportunity abroad. A strong global economy is the best environment for building a community of nations working on common interests. I believe it is essential that we continue to work with long-time allies and partners across the globe to present a unified front against international threats, most pressingly the dangers presented by international terrorism. As we continue to see new attacks at home and abroad, we must move forward with an unwavering commitment to defeating ISIS.

 

The U.S. mustn’t shrink from its responsibilities and obligations in securing a more peaceful and engaged world community. We must support efforts to ensure that we have a national security policy that is strategic, strong and innovative.

 

Strengthening our Military

I’m running for the US Senate because Rand Paul has been an advocate for bluntly cutting defense spending and reducing the number of American troops. He tried his best to get in the way of our intelligence community that safeguards America from foreign and domestic terrorism.

 

Rand’s like a lot of politicians, he flip-flops to get votes. He did that last year as his presidential campaign was launching. TIME magazine characterized a defense spending proposal of his as “A Stunning Reversal For Paul,” who in 2011 called to slash Pentagon funding and cut war funding from $159 billion to zero.

 

This is not the time to be weak on defense when terror threats and attacks are real and dangerous.

 

We cannot shrink the protections our military and counter-intelligence efforts provide. Rand Paul wanted to reduce defense spending and reduce the size of our military. Cuts like this are careless and dangerous. His cuts were characterized as “far more severe than anything envisioned by House Republicans.”

 

We need to cut the Pentagon pork when we can – with a scalpel, not a meat axe the way Rand Paul proposed – and reinvest it in priorities that will make us stronger and safer as a nation. America needs a strong, efficient, and modern defense program with a budget to match. We must make intelligent investments in our military and intelligence systems to keep us safe. We must move forward with an unwavering commitment to defeating ISIS. We have the strongest military in the world, and it must stay that way. To stay ahead, we need to be strategic in how we invest our money as a nation so we’re focused on current needs and future threats.

 

Supporting our Veterans
In 2010, Rand Paul spoke about putting cuts to veterans benefits on the table, and he lived up to his word by repeatedly opposing legislation that would have expanded them. He was also one of eight Senators to vote against legislation giving veterans job training priority for certain federal jobs. And while reported problems at the Department of Veterans Affairs have continued, he has consistently voted against funding the VA.

 

No veteran should have to wait for the care that they need. We can all agree that the VA has problems, and we need to work with Veterans, Republicans, Democrats and Independents to fix them.

 

We should strive for a VA health care system that is second-to-none, accountable and efficient. We have to improve training and individualized care, not outsource it. And let’s invite our veterans to be at the table when solving problems. Our vets can help identify problems and solutions.

 

Of course, if veterans are dissatisfied with their care or live in a remote area, they should have the ability to go elsewhere. And no veteran should be locked into a doctor they don’t like or a facility that is inadequate. But we shouldn’t allow this as an excuse to impose an extreme agenda and privatize the entire VA.

 

Destroying ISIS and stabilizing the Middle East

We are going to win the war against ISIS by staying one step ahead of them. To do that we must strengthen our borders, fight homegrown terrorism, deny ISIS a safe haven and cutting off their finances.

 

Rand Paul is best known for grandstanding. What many may not know is that Paul opposed the Patriot Act and the USA FREEDOM Act, and in his stand against the Patriot Act, he hurt our country’s ability to find and stop terrorists. That’s unacceptable.

 

Clearly, law enforcement should have access to terrorists’ communications. Right now we need our nation’s brightest minds finding a technological solution that protects Americans, keeps our data secure, and allows us to monitor and foil terrorist plots. I refuse to believe that the most advanced country the world has ever known cannot find an innovative solution to this very difficult problem.

 

In order to keep our people safe at home we need to take steps to keep weapons out of the hands of suspected terrorists. This includes preventing suspected terrorists from buying weapons.

 

Reforms like the USA FREEDOM Act allow us to collect more information on terrorists and less information on law-abiding Americans. This is a win-win. Under the new system put in place last year, our intelligence authorities will have access to all the data they need. In fact, they’ll have access to more information on terrorists then they had before.

 

Foreign Policy

Nothing is more important than keeping our families safe, and we need a Senator who has the judgment to make the right choices. People are concerned about safety right now. I am too. When I am a Senator, there will be no greater priority.

 

I am not an isolationist. I don’t believe in a small, weak America. I believe in an America that is strong, an America that takes our rightful place of leadership in the world, not leading from behind but leading from the front of the line. I believe in a strong and vigorous role for the United States to shape the course of world events.

 

America must work with our NATO partners. As Russia’s economy has crumbled, Vladimir Putin has tried to distract his people by reigniting Cold War rivalries. His actions supporting his war criminal friend, Bashar al-Assad, have brought needless death and destruction upon the Syrian people and unnecessarily complicated an already complicated situation. His invasion of Ukraine and annexation of Crimea were flagrant violations of international norms. Now more than ever we need to stand with our closest military allies in NATO to ensure both their security and our own.

 

China has to play by the rules.  China is one of the globes fastest rising powers and as such, it’s important that we maintain our close relationship with them. However, we must also ensure that they play by the rules, particularly when they try to bully our regional allies. Chinese aggression in the South China Sea must be met by unwavering American support for the Philippines, Japan, and our other allies.

 

We need leadership in the Senate with strong judgment and resolve to win the war against ISIS. That includes using the greatest military the world has ever known, an unprecedented commitment from our intelligence community, and diplomacy that unifies the world behind this mission.

 

Standing with our Allies

Rand Paul proposed eliminating foreign aid. That’s dangerous to our security and our economy.

 

It’s essential that we continue to work with long-time allies and partners to present a unified front against international threats and the dangers presented by terrorism. The United States cannot escape its responsibilities to secure a more peaceful and engaged world community. We must support efforts to ensure that we have a national security policy that is strategic, strong and innovative.

 

America’s unbreakable bonds with Israel and other allies is core to a strong foreign policy. I believe the United States shares common values, interests and ideals with Israel. We have a shared respect for democratic principles, human rights and religious freedom, and we both seek peace, security and stability.

 

I’m a supporter of our relationship and maintaining it. That’s why I believe we must do everything we can to ensure that Israel maintains its military edge in the region and the capacity to defend itself. Middle east stability depends with this relationship. Senator Paul’s proposed cuts eliminated aid to Israel, and those cuts would have increased the likelihood of destabilizing the region.