Posted on November 6, 2015

Rand Paul Wants GOP to Join Black Lives Matter Town Hall

Philip Lewis, Huffington Post, November 5, 2015

Sen. Rand Paul (R-Ky.) said Thursday he is on board with participating in a hypothetical Black Lives Matter presidential forum, saying it would be a good idea for the Republican Party to take issues of criminal justice reform seriously.

“If we were smart, we would do it,” the GOP presidential candidate said during an interview on NewsOne Now. “They are drawing attention to issues that need to be drawn to.”

Both the Democratic and Republican National Committees have agreed to promote presidential town halls set up by Black Lives Matter activists. But the movement’s organizers have pushed back against the gesture and continue to demand an official presidential debate–which tends to be more high-profile–specifically focusing on issues of interest to the black community. (Paul has not weighed in on the debate matter.)

Paul also discussed entrepreneurship in black communities, saying he would work to introduce economic freedom zones, which are areas of reduced taxes and regulations intended to help revive low-income areas.

“My plan would leave $3 billion in the South Side of Chicago. I wouldn’t send it to the Chicago government, I wouldn’t send it to the federal government. I would just simply leave it in that area,” he said. “And so businesses that are already there will thrive.”