Paul and Barr speak at Republican 'Boots and Bluegrass' event

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Oct. 25—Carey Holbrook

The Republican party of Madison County held their "Boots and Bluegrass" event Saturday, Oct. 21.

The event featured guest speakers U.S. Senator Rand Paul and U.S. Congressman Andy Barr, who are currently running for re-election.

The event was held at the Lynwood Estates in Richmond — the historic home of Pattie A. Clay — and featured live bluegrass music from The Goodwin Brothers.

Local Republican candidates Judge Executive Reagan Taylor, Richmond City Commissioner and mayoral candidate Krystin Arnold, Berea Mayor Bruce Fraley, and Richmond Police Department Assistant Chief and sheriff candidate William O'Donnell were also present at the event.

In a Facebook post, The Madison County Republican Party said the Boots and Bluegrass Event had their "largest crowd ever."

In his remarks on Saturday, Barr said the Republican party's base is becoming more diverse.

"I'm trying to pay it forward and help some of these other outstanding Republican candidates that will constitute the next Congress — the most diverse Republican majority in history with more Hispanics, more veterans, more African Americans, more women... Conservatives, who will lead us into a base-broadening revolutionary, conservative majority in the Congress," Barr said.

The congressman also said he fully supported U.S. Senator Rand Paul, who is running against Democrat challenger Charles Booker.

"We fight not just to win an election, we fight to save our country; to make sure we have a freer, more prosperous future," Barr said.

The congressman, who has served as the U.S. representative for Kentucky's 6th congressional district since 2013, took aim at Democrats in his remarks by saying, "The American people have seen what one party rule in Washington over the last two years have delivered — an inflation crisis worse than we've seen in 40 years."

He also blamed crime rates on "anti-police movements" as well as "the illegal border immigration."

Barr also echoed a debunked claim used by other high-profile conservatives about the Inflation Reduction Act. Many conservative politicians have insinuated the act would allow the Biden Administration to hire 87,000 new IRS agents — rather than investing in border patrol agents.

The climate, health care and tax package includes roughly $78 billion for the IRS to be phased in over 10 years. A Treasury Department report from May 2021 estimated that such an investment would enable the agency to hire roughly 87,000 employees by 2031. But most of those hires would not be Internal Revenue agents, and wouldn't be new positions.

The IRS currently has roughly 78,000 employees, while U.S. Customs and Border Protection employees approximately 60,000 — making it one of the world's largest law enforcement organizations.

Barr also commented on the threat of the opioid crisis and overwhelming number of overdose deaths and expressed frustration money was being sent in foreign aid rather than in United States.

"The good news is that we've got great candidates and we've got a commitment to America. We're here tonight to support a great patriot — Rand Paul has been leading the fight in the United States Senate against fiscal recklessness since 2010," said Congressman Barr.

Paul began his speech with comments regarding Dr. Anthony Fauci, the National Institute of Health (NIH), and the novel COVID-19 virus.

Paul has been highly critical of the Biden administration's response to the COVID-19 pandemic. The senator has spoken often of his objections to policies like vaccine mandates, as well as pushing back against requirements and regularly sparring with the nation's top infectious disease expert Dr. Anthony Fauci at Congressional hearings

"I've not heard a response. I probably sent two dozen letters to the NIH requesting emails from Anthony Fauci. The only information we've ever gotten from Anthony Fauci has been at the behest of a federal judge, at the order or injunction of a federal judge, under the Freedom of Information Act (FOIA). They have never divulged anything and then when they send it to us, it's completely redacted," Paul said in regards to documents and emails he requested from Fauci and NIH regarding the origins of the coronavirus and royalty payments.

"We've asked such simple things as: Does anybody on the vaccine committee receive royalties from the companies that make the vaccine? He has the audacity to say, 'It's none of your business,'" Paul said of his previously challenge to Fauci during a June Senate hearing over the alleged lack of transparency from the NIH, where Fauci has worked for roughly 40 years, surrounding the royalty payments.

Paul also stated he believes the origins of the coronavirus is "the biggest cover up in the history of modern medicine."

"If and when we win the Senate back, I will subpoena every last document," Paul said. "They are experimenting with viruses that have 50% mortality. We have to actually make sure that doesn't happen again. The other danger is we need to make sure that never again lock the economy and shut it down."

A majority of the senator's political campaign focuses on the effects the pandemic had on the United States and Kentucky.

Paul also took aim at several coronavirus relief checks sent to households during the height of the pandemic under both the Trump and Biden administrations.

"Worst of all, they passed out free money to everybody — but it wasn't free," Paul said.

The senator criticized Democrats and claimed inflation came from spending from the "rainy day fund." Paul stressed his opposition to spending and said "We (republicans) have to hold the line... It takes someone who is going to stand up and say, 'No, I will not vote for that.'"

Paul concluded his speech by circling back to his stance regarding inflation and tying it back to the COVID-19 pandemic.

"Shutting down the economy and schools did not work, masks did not work, stickers on the ground did not work. The only thing that worked was immunity," Paul said. "Between the vaccine and COVID, 99% of you have immunity... Maybe the virus is actually mutating and becoming less dangerous — It's a combination of both, but none of the other things are. We should never ever lock the economy down again or shut down schools."