Paul: Crack Sentencing Part of Needed Justice Reforms

A crack cocaine smoker in Los Angeles.

Photograph by David McNew/Getty Images

A crack cocaine smoker in Los Angeles.

Sen. Rand Paul says he plans to introduce legislation today that would eliminate any disparity between crack and powdered cocaine in criminal prison sentencing.

Paul, a Kentucky Republican and potential presidential candidate, made the announcement today during a speech at the National Urban League’s annual conference in Cincinnati while discussing his efforts to make changes in the criminal justice system including restoring voting rights for certain felons.

“I say we take a stand and fight for justice now,” Paul said, drawing applause from the crowd.

Paul has been focusing for more than a year on improving the Republican Party’s outreach to minority voters. Quoting Martin Luther King Jr. and Malcolm X, he used his speech before the New York City-based civil rights group to push for changes in a criminal justice system he says traps people in cycle of poverty.

He also made a push for school choice, vouchers and charter schools, saying, “Washington has no clue” about fixing education, as well as highlighting his plan for “economic freedom zones” in cities such as Detroit with tax cuts.

Paul said he supports the 1964 Voting Rights Act that the U.S. Supreme Court reversed in part in a ruling last year.

“I’m a Republican who wants to restore a federal role for the government in the Voting Rights Act,” Paul said.

 

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