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Government and Politics


Rand Paul backs on felon voting rights at Urban League Conference
The Kentucky Senator and potential Republican presidential candidate also pushes "economic freedom zones" for impoverished regions in the U.S.
Story by HOWARD WILKINSON AND JAY HANSELMAN


 
Kentucky Sen. Rand Paul touted his ideas about felon voting rights and economic freedom zones at the National Urban League Conference.
Courtesy of U.S. Senate
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Kentucky Sen. Rand Paul pitched his ideas for expanded voting rights and economic freedom to the National Urban League Conference in Cincinnati this morning.

In recent months, Paul, who is likely to be a Republican candidate for president, has been reaching out to minority voters.

Paul told a sparse morning crowd of Urban league delegates about the legislation he has co-sponsored that gives persons previously convicted of nonviolent felonies the right to vote.

LISTEN: PAUL ON FELONS

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"Nationwide, 5 million people are prevented from voting because of their criminal record," Paul says. "It's the biggest impediment to voting in our country. I want more people to vote, not less."

Paul also pitched his plan to create "economic freedom zones” in rural and urban areas where poverty rates and unemployment are high. 


"In the past, what we do is government takes the money from the people, sends it to Washington and then gives it back," Paul says. "But they have to chose who to give it to so sometimes the money they give is to small businesses that fail because often the wrong people are the ones who get the money."

Paul says under his plan, the city of Detroit would get $1.3 billion over the next 10 years, while Appalachian areas of Kentucky would receive $1 billion. Congressional Democrats have questioned how Paul would pay for his plan. 

The four-day National Urban League Conference, which has drawn about 8,500 delegates and guests to Cincinnati, wraps up tomorrow .

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