U.S. Senator Rand Paul visited the University of Iowa today, in one of the first stops on his campaign tour after announcing his candidacy for president.
The Kentucky Republican made several appeals to millennials, whom he called the “Instagram generation,” by emphasizing his plans to end drug war policies, especially those that disproportionately affect minorities.
"The war on drugs has created a culture of violence and put police in a nearly impossible situation," said Paul. "Even though whites and blacks use drugs at about the same rate, three out of four people in prison are black. Something's wrong with that, and it ought to end. I'm going to be part of ending it."
In addition to ending the war on drugs, Paul says he would like to give felons the right to vote, make college tuition tax deductible, and spend less money overseas.
"I have a message for those who are spending your inheritance abroad," he said. "Let's quit building bridges in foreign countries and use that money to build bridges here at home."
Cormac Broeg of Williamsburg, Iowa, attended the event. He said that Paul’s stance on criminal offenses for drug charges resonates most with him.
"I dislike a lot of his policies, but one that I do definitely agree with is that he wants to end the many criminal offenses that disproportionately affect African Americans," he said. "We know that system is disproportionately affecting people, and that needs to be changed."
Paul’s father, former congressman Ron Paul, visited the University of Iowa often during his campaign for the GOP nomination in 2011. Congressman Paul finished third overall in the Republican caucuses but was a close second behind Mitt Romney in Johnson and Story Counties where the University of Iowa and Iowa State University are located. He won Black Hawk County, home of the University of Northern Iowa.