Tea Party Candidate Draws Backlash For Qualms Over ADA
Since winning Kentucky’s Republican Senate primary this week, tea party activist Rand Paul is causing a stir by criticizing federal disability and civil rights laws.
Paul’s victory Tuesday was seen as a milestone for the grassroots tea party movement, which advocates for smaller government and less spending. But in relishing the win, Paul — the son of Rep. Ron Paul, R-Texas — may have gone too far. He’s taking heat now after telling National Public Radio in an interview earlier this week that he believes both the Americans with Disabilities Act and the Civil Rights Act of 1964 represent overreaches of the federal government.
“I think a lot of things could be handled locally,” Paul said in the interview, which aired on All Things Considered. “I think if you have a two-story office and you hire someone who’s handicapped, it might be reasonable to let him have an office on the first floor rather than the government saying you have to have a $100,000 elevator. And I think when you get to the solutions like that, the more local the better, and the more common sense the decisions are, rather than having a federal government make those decisions.”
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The comments were met with an strong backlash from his Democratic opponent in the Kentucky Senate race, Jack Conway.
“No matter how he tries to spin to the contrary, the fact is that Paul’s ideology has dangerous consequences for working families, veterans, students, the disabled and those without a voice in the halls of power,” Conway said in a statement.
Paul’s comments could also have an impact beyond Kentucky since the self-described tea party candidate, represents the movement’s first major victory. An intentionally leaderless movement, a recent poll conducted by USA Today/Gallup found that 28 percent of Americans support the tea party.