Paul hears concerns of west Louisville residents - News, Weather & Sports

Paul hears concerns of west Louisville residents

Sen. Rand Paul (R-KY) Sen. Rand Paul (R-KY)
Rev. Alonzo Malone Rev. Alonzo Malone
Shawn Gardner Shawn Gardner
Carol Bottoms Carol Bottoms
Robert Phillips Robert Phillips

LOUISVILLE, KY (WAVE) – Kentucky's junior senator spent part of the day in west Louisville to talk about problems plaguing the community.

Several topics were on the table as Sen. Rand Paul sat down with residents at the Plymouth Community Renewal Center. The meeting consisted of not only pinpointing key community issues in west Louisville, but identifying the steps necessary for solutions.

For Rev. Alonzo Malone of Church Without Doors Ministry it was a chance to appeal for voting rights.

"Today I can pay taxes, but I can't vote," said Malone.

"When you see those parents on that school bus because they've chaperoned that trip," said Shawn Gardner of 2not1 Fatherhood & Families, "Shawn Gardner will never be one of those parents."

It was an opportunity to advocate for program funding to help keep teens in west Louisville from making the mistakes he has.

"Once you get that felony, it's there for your life," said Gardner.

Both Malone and Gardner are community leaders. They are also convicted felons who were invited to take part in the table discussion hosted Paul.

"The chance that a young black male is going to be in jail for drugs is four to five times greater than a white person even though white people are 85 percent of the public and are said to use drugs," said Paul. "You look at it this way - where are they more likely to go? To the rich high school on the other side of town or to here and stand outside for someone waiting out front?"

Paul also acknowledged a community concern of tax liens being sold to third parties.

"A $50.00 tax lien becomes a $500.00 lien becomes a $2,000 lien," said Paul.

Paul also talked about the need for what he called economic freedom zones. According to Paul, they are "zones of improvement where taxes would be lowered to try to encourage business."

During the session, neighbors chimed in freely. Some were concerned the senator wouldn't be able to provide direct help.

"A lot of the things you can't do anything about Senator Paul because you're at the federal level," said Carol Bottoms of Louisville. "A lot of our issues we've discussed are local and state."

Others on hand applauded Paul's presence and were grateful he took time out to listen.

"I had my opinions and he answered them so I feel good about it," said Robert Phillips of Louisville.

The meeting ended with a call to action. Paul said he plans to testify on altering minimum sentencing requirements this week.

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