By GINA KINSLOW
Glasgow Daily Times
— Editor's note: A previous online version of this story, as well as the version in the April 17 print edition, gave an incorrect date for Sen. Rand Paul's appearance in Edmonton.
EDMONTON — U.S. Sen. Rand Paul made a visit to Edmonton on Wednesday afternoon for a community forum during which he spoke mostly about health care and the economy and how he proposes to fix problems with each.
The stop was one of several he made across the state during the week.
After addressing about 30 people who turned out to hear him, the senator opened the floor for questions.
One constituent asked him why he came out in support of Sen. Mitch McConnell, R-Louisville.
Paul declined to answer the question publicly, saying he would speak with her in private and explain his reason for supporting the senior senator.
Metcalfe County’s judge-executive Greg Wilson questioned Paul about monies given to eastern Kentucky over an extended period of time to help that part of the state’s economic situation.
“The eastern part of the state has had millions of dollars [allocated] throughout the years in coal money. They are still in the same shape. … I hate it for those people in eastern Kentucky, but you know, what about the rest of the state?” Wilson said.
Paul told Wilson he agreed with him and said efforts undertaken to assist eastern Kentucky with its economic issues need to be done differently. He proposed lowering taxes to improve not only eastern Kentucky’s economy, but the economy of the whole state, in order for Kentucky to become competitive, not just with other states but also with other countries.
Later, after Paul’s speech, Wilson said he didn’t think the senator answered his question.
“Eastern Kentucky — they’ve had their due. Everyone wants to be the savior to eastern Kentucky,” he said. “You’ve got to think about the rest of the state, as well.”
One thing Wilson would like to see Paul do, aside from focusing on eastern Kentucky, is bring jobs back to Kentucky.
“I really think he’s looking more at a nationwide thing because he’s probably going to run for president,” Wilson said. “That’s the talk. I just don’t want him to forget about the rest of the state.”
Paul also answered questions about health care, including an alternative plan for Obamacare.
“I think it’s not enough to be opposed to Obamacare. We have to have something to replace it,” he said.
One of the things he sees helping would be larger health saving tax accounts that could be passed on to other family members and associated with other health accounts.
“I would let you pay your premiums, your deductibles — everything out of health savings accounts,” he said.
He also spoke in favor of more competition for health insurance companies.
“I would let insurance be sold across state lines to try to drive insurance rates down,” Paul said.
Mayor Howard Garrett also attended the forum and said he enjoyed the senator’s remarks.
“He’s got his philosophy about government and he’s very popular in the state and it seems he’s got a good following nationwide,” Garrett said. “I thought it was very interesting.”
As for whether he agrees with Paul, Garrett said, “I don’t know that you agree with somebody 100 percent.”
Garrett agreed with Wilson about a change in regulations on utilities needed to bring jobs to the state and to the Edmonton-Metcalfe County area.
“The regulations that we’ve got on utilities — a lot of the industry located here in Kentucky moved here because of the utility rates,” he said. “We’ve got to keep the companies that we’ve got and we’ve got to attract more companies to provide jobs for our citizens.”
Peg Riley said she found the senator’s speech interesting.
“I’m a big fan of Rand Paul,” she said.
June Missine also liked what the senator had to say.
“I thought it was pretty good, really. He told us quite a bit in a short time,” she said.
Paul’s stop in Edmonton was one of two he made on Wednesday. Earlier in the day he spoke to constituents in Burkesville.