FULL INTERVIEW: Charles Booker talks potential U.S. Senate run against Rand Paul

Charles Booker full interview with WBKO News
Charles Booker full interview with WBKO News(WBKO)
Updated: May. 21, 2021 at 5:57 PM CDT
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BOWLING GREEN, Ky. (WBKO) - Former State Representative and Democrat, Charles Booker launched an exploratory committee for a U.S. Senate run over a month ago. He is now speaking out after comments Sen. Rand Paul made during a WBKO News interview.

Q: So, yesterday I spoke with Senator Paul about the funds you’ve raised so far for your potential run against him. I asked him if he was concerned, and he said he wasn’t because of your rhetoric or defunding the police--- what do you say in response?

A: “Well, what I would say is what I’ve always said about Rand Paul, is he’s a liar. What I’ve said very clearly from the start in my work over the years to address gun laws in our community to protect our cities, working across Kentucky, as a director of Fish and Wildlife, I want us to fully fund community and public safety. I want us to make sure that everyone can be safe in their homes, that everyone’s family is okay, no matter where they are in this Commonwealth. Rand Paul knows that. But instead, he’s trying to stoke division. Honestly, he’s trying to stoke racism. He wants to hide from the fact that he has done nothing for Kentucky. He doesn’t want them looking at his record because he knows it’s terrible. He doesn’t want them noticing that he voted against basic survival checks in the middle of a pandemic. He doesn’t want Kentuckians to notice that he is opposed to expanding healthcare while I’ve had to ration my insulin-- so many Kentuckians have had to do that. He doesn’t want the people of Kentucky to look at the fact that he gave a big tax cut to corporations, the wealthiest few, putting billions on the deficit while we fall off the cliff. So instead, he’s lying about me, and hoping that the people of Kentucky would be afraid. But you know what, the people of Kentucky are united in our fight for a brighter future. And that includes men and women in uniform, like my mother-in-law, who earnestly put that uniform on to protect and serve everyone. We know that we have more work to do to reimagine what community safety means. We understand what happened when Breonna’s door was kicked in. And we should be responsible and lead for a brighter future. And that’s what I intend to do. And lifting up this exploratory. That’s what I’m gonna do in every single day I wake up in this Commonwealth because I love this place.”

Q: What about him saying your idea about reparations for slavery being a crazy idea? What would reparations for slavery look like?

A: “Well, first of all, for Rand Paul, Randall Paul, to take an important topic about how we ensure justice and accountability for the people of Kentucky and for this country, and to misrepresent it to offend and insult folks who are actually fighting to make sure we have a brighter future, it’s a shame. It’s beneath the office that he is in. And it’s why he should not be in that office. The conversation about reparations is actually about justice and accountability. And that’s what leaders do. And that’s what we’ve done in the Commonwealth of Kentucky, I think often about those folks in the coal industry, hard-working men and women who have seen those jobs go away. Now, because of the decline of the coal industry, in Kentucky and in other places we enacted coal severance funds to directly invest in those communities to make sure they’re not left behind, to make sure they’re taken care of because that’s what leaders do. We did that in the same vein when the tobacco industry was declining. And we enacted tobacco settlement funds to invest in our communities and make sure that we are diversifying our agricultural industries. That’s what we do. And so what my platform, my mission, my vision, which Rand Paul might call crazy, I think making sure that everyone has quality health care isn’t crazy- it’s right. I think making sure that the people of Kentucky have a guaranteed annual income so that they can take care of their families and pursue their dreams is not crazy, it’s right. I think making sure that everyone in this Commonwealth has clean water and clean air is not crazy- it’s right. And I think making sure that everyone in this Commonwealth has justice and accountability is not crazy, it’s right. Look, Rand Paul single-handedly voted to block the anti lynching legislation. I’ve had ancestors in this Commonwealth who were enslaved and lynched in this Commonwealth. This is not a game to me. And it’s not a game to the people of Kentucky. But it’s a game to Rand Paul, because he doesn’t care. And so what I’m saying now is we can’t stoke these divisions, we can’t play these games and he’s taking dog whistles and putting them up to megaphones and hoping to keep the people of Kentucky afraid of change while he does nothing. I’m fighting for justice, I’m fighting for Reparations, I’m fighting for healing for every single person in this Commonwealth. And I believe that people can talk about ready to fight to.”

Q: What would you say to senator Paul and McConnell who both oppose a bipartisan commission to investigate the capitol attack?

A: “I think it’s an example of traders, showing that they don’t want investigations into their treason. There was an attack on our democracy, an officer was killed. Rand Paul couldn’t even applaud the fact of honoring those officers who sacrifice even their lives to protect democracy. It’s a slap in the face to say that we would look away and dismiss what happened on January 6 that really transformed our politics. It was a combination of hates, it was a culmination of division, it was a culmination of the big lie that Rand Paul has actively been using his office to stoke. And anyone who can look at what happened to our nation, and still say that we shouldn’t investigate it, we should look away, does not deserve to be in that office because they don’t care about the people of Kentucky. If they did, they would make sure that it never happens again. And you know, I see what happened on January 6, as a bigger issue about what does healing mean for our country? Because we’ve been so divided. How do we come together and realize our common bonds from the hood to the hardest so that we can have a brighter future? That’s my life’s work. And while Rand Paul wants to keep us divided, and keep people afraid of change, and stoke all of this racism, I wanted all to end, so that Kentuckians can have the future they deserve. And that my baby, baby justice, who’s coming in August, can ultimately be reading about poverty, not living it because it’s the thing of the past. And that’s why I launched this exploratory to take the stand. And I’m asking everyone to go to, to get involved with us and say that we deserve someone in office that will actually fight for us not make a mockery of us.”

Q: What is holding you back from not fully committing to a run against Paul?

A: “First of all, I’ve made it clear that this exploratory for me is not about indecision, it’s about intentionality, we have the opportunity to do our diligence to go to the people of Kentucky and say, ‘Look, I’m proposing something we haven’t had the chance to do before.’ I want to go to the places that get ignored. I want to lift up the voices of Kentucky’s that get silenced, disenfranchised and drowned out. And I want to make this decision with the people of Kentucky. So that’s what this time is about. I’m clear, this is what I want to do. I’ve committed my life to this word because once we get rid of someone like Rand Paul, we got a whole lot of more work to do to make sure that the people of Kentucky are heard in every level of government. But the people of Kentucky are used to being talked at, talked about. So what we want, and not listen to and I don’t operate that way. I come from a community that never gets listened to and so I wanted to create this process to say I’m earnestly listening to you from the start. So we’re going to be traveling across the Commonwealth. We’re putting out surveys and activating our big volunteer base to get information from folks on what do you even want out of a U.S. Senator, what’s important to you? Nobody ever asked us those questions. So that’s why I’m excited about this exploratory and it’s also why Rand Paul should be terrified.”

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