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GOP presidential nominee Ron Paul visits UTEP

Published: Friday, April 27, 2012

Updated: Friday, May 17, 2013 12:05

Ron Paul

Greg Castillo / The Prospector

A day after Republican GOP candidate Mitt Romney swept five Northeastern primary states and was declared the presumptive nominee by the Republican National Committee, fellow candidate and U.S. Representative Ron Paul visited El Paso to hold a town hall meeting April 25 at Magoffin Auditorium.

Paul was warmly received by approximately 1,000 attendees, primarily from the Youth for Ron Paul chapters of UTEP and New Mexico State University.

Paul spent most of his time addressing matters that concern college and university students, which is the demographic that the 76-year-old candidate is widely popular with.

“It is a real delight to have such a nice reception because what you’re really receiving is not me especially, but the cause of liberty, the revolution,” Paul said. “Unfortunately, we have a major task, especially the university students. It’s a bad time to be getting out of college when you think about who has the debt. It may be some personal debt, national debt. And where are the jobs?”

Paul said he would work toward eliminating the Department of Education and would leave educational decisions in the hands of the state or local government or at a personal level.

Isabel Gonzalez, president of the Youth for Ron Paul UTEP Chapter and graduate student in rehabilitation counseling, said Paul’s revolutionary ideas are what make him so popular with college students.

“He has very fresh ideas and I think it’s easier, as you build your own philosophy, to accept those things,” Gonzalez said. “I can only speak for myself and my chapter members. We really like the fact that Ron Paul is just a really down to earth and honest man. That is so rare in politics.”

Paul talked about the importance of restoring liberty to the people as well as the right to privacy. He stated that the Patriot Act is hurting the Fourth Amendment.

“We do need to repeal it. The role of the government should be to protect the privacy, not the secrecy of the government,” Paul said. “A good place to start to reverse that is expose the Fed (U.S. Federal Reserve). That’s the reason I want to cut one trillion dollars out of the budget in one year.”

Paul addressed the drug war in Mexico by saying the problem is not only with illegal drugs, but also prescription drugs. He also said it is also an issue of freedom and not the government’s choice to dictate what and how much a person is to consume.

“I think it’s time to say no to the federal war on drugs. The borders are not safe and it isn’t immigrants coming in to try to survive that is causing the problem. It’s the war on drugs that’s causing the problem,” Paul said. “The war on drugs has been very damaging to our civil liberties, very costly since the 1970s–it’s costed over three trillion dollars. The real serious problem in this country today with drug addiction are prescription drugs.”

Gonzalez acknowledged that the issue is something that directly affects the El Paso community, which is why she believes Paul’s drug policy is the best option.

“We want to end the drug war because that’s affecting Mexico and we see it in Juárez,” Gonzalez said. “I haven’t been there since 2007 and I used to go regularly. Those are some issues that are more centralized to us here. We need a more sensible drug policy.”

Republican GOP hopefuls Newt Gingrich and Rick Santorum have already withdrawn from the Republican presidential nomination race, leaving only Paul and Romney. Even though Romney has been named the presumptive nominee, Paul’s supporters said they are not willing to give up just yet.

“We are going to fight for our horse and cheer for our horse as long as our horse is in the race. When he is no longer in the race, we will address that,” said Isabel Garcia Schmitt, Youth for Ron Paul volunteer. “We are not a childish bunch as people perceive with what they hear in the media. We understand that the GOP is the way to go. So, if it doesn’t happen now, yes we are going to be disappointed. Does that mean we are going quit the GOP? No.” 

Daniel Ornelas may be reached at prospector@utep.edu.

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