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Sen. Rand Paul: 'I'm Trying to Figure Out How To Get More Votes'

U.S. Sen. Rand Paul, R-Ky., is asking Louisville’s African-American community to consider his vote.

Paul spoke to students and faculty members at Simmons College of Kentucky on Friday.This follows his appearance this week at Howard University in Washington D.C. where Paul tried connecting black history to the Republican Party.Paul says Republicans have neglected the minority vote for too long and he says his appearance at Simmons College is an attempt to reconnect. Paul says the GOP "is not hostile to civil rights, to civil liberties, to the African American population," and that he has personally been mislabeled by media reports, which he calls unfair. He further emphasized the importance of public education, a key topic he discussed Friday, and says he supports more freedom from federal and state regulations.“Your superintendent of schools in Jefferson County shouldn’t have a formula such as they can’t direct more money here if a school is struggling. Or frankly can’t direct better teachers and say the teacher that won the teacher of the year award, maybe they need to come to the most difficult school that’s struggling," he says.The Rev. Kevin Cosby is president of Simmons College. He says it’s a healthy sign that Paul is reaching out to African-American communities.“I think it sends a message to the democrats not to take the African-American vote for granted. I think it sends a message to the republicans not to write African-Americans  off," he says.Cosby says there is merit to Paul’s insistence that republicans did play crucial roles in black history, and says all political parties should be reconsidered for common interests.“I think it's important that we reevaluate where we are and live by what Jesse Jackson said on one occasion: no permanent friends, no permanent enemies, but permanent interests," he says.Some students were pleased with Paul's appearance but not quite clear on where he stood on key issues. "Him coming here, I automatically knew it was for the vote," says Simmons College scholar Celia Jackson. "If more Republicans do what he's doing maybe there would be more African American votes on Republican tickets."