Sen. Rand Paul to speak in Essex

Presidential candidate headlines Republican fundraiser

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Rand Paul

Rand Paul

Rand Paul is the first candidate for president in 2016 to answer the call of the Vermont Republican Party.

The executive director of the Vermont Republican Party, Jeff Bartley of Colchester, announced last week that Paul will speak Aug. 31 at the Whitcomb House Bed and Breakfast in Essex. The event is a Republican fundraiser, and seats range from $65 for general admission to $2,000 for a private reception and photo opportunity with the senator. It is billed as a casual summer barbecue.

A senator from Kentucky, Paul is the son of former presidential candidate and Sen. Ron Paul. Like his father, he espouses Libertarian principals. He is one of 17 candidates vying for the Republican presidential nomination.

“We’ve reached out to a lot of the candidates,” said Bartley, who also serves on the Colchester Selectboard. “We know Vermont is not that important of a state (for elections) in the grand scheme of things, but it has an early primary … We really want to know what they have to say, and hopefully a lot of them will take advantage of the invitation.

“Every candidate brings something different to the table that fits the party,” he continued. “We are a diverse party and we want to be welcoming to all Republicans.”

Bartley acknowledged that Paul’s Libertarian bent meshes with Vermont’s independent streak.

“Vermont, in general, has a message of freedom and decentralization,” he said. “That fits the Libertarian mold. Paul’s message of personal responsibility and fiscal conservatism will resonate here.”

The deadline to purchase tickets is Aug. 25. The initial response has the party thinking about installing an overflow tent for the 6 p.m. event. The Whitcomb House Bed and Breakfast is located at 199 River Road, near the Essex/Jericho town line.

“If we continue to have the response we are having, I think it will be a great event,” Bartley said. “We are excited.”

— Jason Starr