Danville paper will ask Rand Paul questions based on public input

Published 11:40 am Monday, August 19, 2019

U.S. Sen. Rand Paul plans to be in Danville Wednesday for a round-table meeting with a small group of invitees. The event is being organized by the Danville-Boyle County Chamber of Commerce and Paul’s office.

While the event is not open to the public, it will be covered by The Advocate-Messenger. The newspaper will be asking Paul one to two questions during the round-table, based in part off of input from the Danville-Boyle County community.

Local residents can submit suggestions for questions or issues they would like Paul to address to The Advocate-Messenger by emailing advocate@amnews.com. Please include your name and address when submitting a suggestion.

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The newspaper has been invited to ask questions “in an effort to make good on the suggestions put forth in a recent Advocate-Messenger editorial,” according to Kelsey Cooper, Paul’s communications director.

The editorial published July 20 called for Paul’s visit to be “a productive event and a good example of representative democracy in action.” It suggested Paul attempt to invite people from all political sides and socioeconomic groups; make time for public comment and questions; and seek input from the local community in advance of the event. It also advocated for intentionally inviting people who disagree with Paul’s political stances.

Paul will speak with local leaders, members of the business community and others at 11 a.m. Wednesday, according to Chamber of Commerce Executive Director Jeff Jewel. Those invited include “all county and city elected officials, including mayors of all three Boyle County cities,” Jewel said, as well as the chamber board, the board of the Danville-Boyle County Economic Development Partnership and representatives “of numerous local organizations such as the Boyle County Public Library, Grace Café, Art Center of the Bluegrass, Arts Commission, Centre College, Boyle County Farmers Market, HOPE Network, Brass Band Festival, BBQ Festival and more. Area school superintendents and regional chamber directors were also invited.”

Jewel said the chamber also offered 25 seats to interested members of the chamber on a first-come, first-served basis.

Paul will speak briefly to begin the event, and then there will be a community Q&A session, Jewel said. “The senator and his staff will be on-hand to discuss federal policy relating to areas of concern to members of our community.”

The planned visit was called off in early August after the senator underwent surgery at Vanderbilt University Medical Center to remove part of his lung, which was damaged when Paul was assaulted in 2017, according to Jewel.

But last week, Paul resumed planned visits, according to Kelsey Cooper, communications director for Paul’s office.

“Despite originally canceling most of his August recess events, Sen. Paul’s recovery from surgery has been quicker than expected, and he’s excited that he will still be able to make a visit to Danville on Wednesday,” Cooper said. “This is just the second public appearance he has made since his surgery. The first was in Williamsburg (on Aug. 13).”

The event is invite-only in part because U.S. Capitol Police want a list of everyone who is going to attend in advance, “so they can all be cleared,” Jewel told members of the Economic Development Partnership last month.

“Sen. Paul’s staff — they really like to spread the net as wide as they can but still be a group that’s small enough to have kind of roundtable discussions so he can actually talk to people,” Jewel said in July. “He wants it to be way less about him getting up and talking about policy and way more about answering questions from our business community and our chamber members.”

Watch for coverage of Paul’s visit on amnews.com Wednesday and in Thursday’s print edition.