Ronald Ernest “Ron” Paul (born 20 August 1935) is an American physician and politician from the U.S. state of Texas. A Republican, he has represented Texas's 14th congressional district in the U.S. House of Representatives since 1997, and had previously served as the representative from Texas's 22nd district in 1976 and from 1979 to 1985.
In 1984, Paul ran in the Republican primary for the U.S. Senate seat vacated by John Tower, but the nomination went to Phil Gramm. Paul also supported term limits for members of Congress at the time and likened himself to the famous Senator Robert A. Taft. Paul was the Libertarian Party nominee for president in the 1988 election. After his failed presidential bid, Paul returned to Congress in 1997. He was again elected as a Republican, but against the wishes of the party leadership, which had backed Paul's primary opponent. His opponent in the primary was the incumbent representative, a former Democrat who had switched his party affiliation to Republican in the aftermath of the 1994 Republican Revolution. On 11 January 2007, Paul announced the formation of an exploratory committee for a 2008 presidential campaign.
Paul was born in Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania. He graduated from Dormont High School in Dormont, Pennsylvania, in 1953. Paul attended Gettysburg College, receiving his Bachelor of Arts degree in 1957, and the Duke University School of Medicine, receiving M.D. in 1961. He did his internship and residency at Henry Ford Hospital in Detroit from 1961 to 1962, and was a flight surgeon in the United States Air Force from 1963 to 1968. Paul completed obstetrics and gynecology training at the University of Pittsburgh while in the Air Force from 1965–1968, and in 1968 he and his wife Carol moved to Surfside Beach, Texas.
He became a delegate to the Texas state Republican convention in 1974. He was an unsuccessful Republican candidate for election to Congress in 1974 against the incumbent Democrat Robert R. Casey. When President Gerald R. Ford appointed Casey as head of the Federal Maritime Commission, a special election was held in April 1976 to replace him. Paul won that election but lost six months later in the general election to Democrat Robert A. Gammage. He then defeated Gammage in a 1978 rematch. Paul won new terms in 1980 and 1982. He was the first congressman to propose term limit legislation for the House of Representatives. Paul was an unsuccessful candidate for US Senate in the 1984 GOP primary. In 1985 Paul returned to medical practice. He was succeeded by Tom DeLay.
In 1988, Paul won the nomination of the Libertarian Party for the U.S. Presidency. He placed third in the popular vote (with 431,750 votes - 0.47%), behind George H. W. Bush and Michael Dukakis.
In 1996, Paul was again elected to the House as a Republican. Mainstream Republican Party figures backed the incumbent, Greg Laughlin, a Democratic representative who had switched parties in the wake of the Republican takeover of Congress. Laughlin attempted to portray Paul's views as extreme and eccentric, but Paul won the primary and went on to win the general election.
Leaders of the Texas Republican Party made similar efforts to defeat him in 1998, but he again won the primary and the election. The Republican congressional leadership then agreed to a compromise: Paul votes with the Republicans on procedural matters and remains nominally Republican in exchange for the committee assignments normally due according to his seniority. This is arguably similar to the deal that Senator Jim Jeffords of Vermont had with the Democratic Party (though Jeffords was elected as a Republican and was officially an independent until his retirement in January 2007). Paul was convincingly re-elected in 2000 and 2002. He was elected unopposed in 2004 to his ninth term in the Congress, and was re-elected again in 2006 by a 20% margin. He is a member of the Republican Liberty Caucus.
Ron Paul joined the Libertarian Party in 1987 as a lifetime member, a status which he appears never to have renounced. Though only elected to Congress as a Republican, Paul remains on good terms with the Libertarian Party and has addressed its national convention as recently as 2004.
Libertarian Party spokesman George Getz said that thousands of libertarians across the United States donated money to Ron Paul's campaign funds. Campaign disclosures reveal that 71.4% of contributions to Paul's coffers come from outside his home state of Texas. Unlike many political candidates, Paul receives the overwhelming majority of his campaign contributions (92.5% in 2004 and 96.8% in 2006) from individuals.
Paul professes a limited government, libertarian ideology. His regular votes against almost all proposals for government spending, initiatives, or taxes, and his frequent dissents in otherwise unanimous votes have irritated some of his Republican colleagues and have earned him the nickname “Dr. No” (an example being his dissenting vote in the Sarbanes-Oxley Act where he was one of three Representatives voting against it).
Congressman Paul advocates a strict non-interventionist foreign policy. He voted against the Iraq War Resolution and continues to criticize the US presence in Iraq, and what he charges is the use of the war on terror to curtail civil liberties. He is currently speaking against the "dangerous military confrontation approaching with Iran and supported by many in leadership on both sides of the aisle". He has also broken with his party by voting against the Patriot Act in 2001 and again in 2005, and is very opposed to a military draft. He endorses American withdrawal from the United Nations.
His base of support has been among conservative and libertarian Republicans, but after 9/11 he has gained some strong support from liberal Democrats in central Texas because of his consistent opposition to the war in Iraq. As an example of this shift, the Austin Chronicle newspaper, a liberal alternative weekly newspaper in Austin, Texas, described his views as erratic in 2000. After 9/11 though, the Chronicle took a much more favorable view of Paul, praising him for his strong principled opposition to the Iraq War.
In a recent speech before the House of Representatives, Paul expressed his concern about the possibility of an Iran War. He claimed that the current circumstances with Iran are similar to those under which the Iraq War began, and urged Congress not to authorize a war with Iran.
Ron Paul has taken some positions on foreign policy issues that some libertarians do not agree with. He voted against the Central American Free Trade Agreement (CAFTA), claiming that it increased the size of government, and has supported border security and opposed illegal immigration.
Paul's economic views oppose nearly all government intervention in the market. He supports the abolition of the income tax, most Cabinet departments and the Federal Reserve. His opposition to the Federal Reserve is based on his belief that instead of containing inflation, the Federal Reserve, in theory and in practice, is responsible for causing inflation. Paul believes that in addition to eroding the value of individual savings, this creation of inflation leads to booms and busts in the economy. This economic theory is known as Austrian Business Cycle Theory. Thus Paul would say that government, via a central bank (the Federal Reserve), is the primary cause of economic recessions and depressions. He has stated in numerous speeches that most of his colleagues in Congress are unwilling to abolish the central bank because it funds many government activities. He says that to compensate for eliminating the "hidden tax" of inflation, Congress and the president would instead have to raise taxes or cut government services, either of which could be politically damaging to their reputations. He also endorses defederalization of the healthcare system. Paul's campaign slogan for 2004 was "The Taxpayers' Best Friend!".
John Berthoud, president of the National Taxpayers Union, an organization that promotes lower tax rates, has said, "Ron Paul has always proven himself to be a leader in the fight for taxpayer rights and fiscal responsibility... No one can match his record on behalf of taxpayers." He is frequently considered an advocate of small business. Jack Farris, president of the National Federation of Independent Business, has said, "Congressman Ron Paul is a true friend of small business....He is committed to a pro-small-business agenda of affordable health insurance, lower taxes, tort reform, and the elimination of burdensome mandates."
In many public speeches Paul has called for the re-introduction of the gold standard, the effect of which would result in the United States Government making large purchases of gold and issuing currency only to the extent of its ownership of gold. Ron Paul supports the gold standard to prevent inflation.
He has also called for the removal of all taxes on gold transactions. In 2002 he proposed legislation abolishing the Federal Reserve Board, enabling “America to return to the type of monetary system envisioned by our Nation's founders: one where the value of money is consistent because it is tied to a commodity such as gold. Paul's personal financial disclosures reveal extensive private investments in gold and silver, through equities and warrants in companies including Newmont, IAM Gold, Barrick Gold, Golden Star Resources, Golden Cycle Gold Corp, Pan American Silver, Great Basin Gold, Eldorado Gold, Freeport McMoran Gold & Copper, Apollo Gold Corp and Placer Dome.
He is also a supporter of the notion that Dollar hegemony has led to war and may do so again. He says that if a petroleum producing state starts trading in Petroeuro instead of Petrodollar the world's dollar reserves will shrink and hurt the US economy. The US might seek to prevent such an action by going to war, a scenario that Paul opposes and says could be prevented by a return to backing the USD with gold.
Dr. Paul was Co-Sponsor of H.R. 2592, the States' Rights to Medical Marijuana and is affirmative to the question "Should marijuana be a medical option?"
In 2005 he introduced H.R. 3037, the Industrial Hemp Farming Act of 2005, “to amend the Controlled Substances Act to exclude industrial hemp from the definition of marijuana, and for other purposes”. This bill would have given the states the power to regulate farming of hemp. The measure would be a first since the national prohibition of industrial hemp farming in the United States.
On February 13, 2007 Rep. Ron Paul introduced H.R. 1009, the "Industrial Hemp Farming Act of 2007," with nine original co-sponsors: Representatives Tammy Baldwin (D-WI), Barney Frank (D-MA), Raúl Grijalva (D-AZ), Maurice Hinchey (D-NY), Dennis Kucinich (D-OH), Jim McDermott (D-WA), George Miller (D-CA), Pete Stark (D-CA), and Lynn Woolsey (D-CA).
He believes that the Constitution does not give Congress the authority to ban or regulate drugs in general.
As a former Libertarian Party candidate for President, Congressman Paul has been a proponent of ballot access law reform, and spoken out on numerous election law reform issues.
In 2004, he spoke out against efforts to abolish the Electoral College, stating that such a reform would weaken the “voting power of pro-liberty states”.
In 2003, he introduced H.R. 1941, the Voter Freedom Act of 2003, that would have created fairer and uniform ballot access laws for independent and third political party candidates in Congressional elections. He supported this bill in a speech before Congress in 2004.
In 2003, he spoke out against the enacted law that appoints members of Congress in the event of the death of several members due to an act of terrorism.
In 2002, he spoke before the Congress in opposition to campaign finance reforms that place any restrictions on citizens and businesses making campaign contributions to the candidate of their choice on First Amendment grounds.
Paul is pro-life. However, Paul believes that the United States Constitution does not grant the federal government any authority to legalize or ban abortion. He believes that abortion is "not a constitutional issue" and should be a decision left to the legislatures of the states. Despite these beliefs, he did vote in favour of the federal Partial-Birth Abortion Ban Act of 2003. He has also introduced H.R. 1658 and H.R. 4379 that would prohibit the Supreme Court from ruling on issues relating to abortion, birth control, the definition of marriage and homosexuality and states that the court's precedent in these areas would no longer be binding.--Please check bad reference He once said, “The best solution, of course, is not now available to us. That would be a Supreme Court that recognizes that for all criminal laws, the several states retain jurisdiction.”
Congressman Paul adheres to the consistent life ethic, and therefore opposes all forms of killing not done in self-defense. His pro-life views factor into his support for non-interventionism, and are the reason he opposes capital punishment. Paul introduced The Sanctity of Life Act of 2005, which would remove jurisdiction of the Supreme Court in cases involving abortion laws in individual States. This would effectively freeze the current law established by Roe v. Wade, and would allow states to pass laws contrary to Roe v. Wade with little fear of them being overturned through the Federal court system.
Congressman Paul's position on gay marriage is that defining and recognizing marriages is not a federal or constitutional matter, but should be left as the States' right. In 1999 he voted for H.R. 2587 that banned gay couples adopting children in the District of Columbia.
He voted against the Federal Marriage Amendment in 2004. In a 2004 speech before Congress he expressed support for the Federal Defense of Marriage Act and expressed his support for the Marriage Protection Act as an alternative to the FMA.
In 2006, a "Technology voter guide" by CNET awarded Paul a score of 80%, the highest score out of both houses of Congress. Paul has been criticized for voting against legislation to help catch online child predators, one of the votes used in the CNET guide. In response to critics, Paul said, "I have a personal belief that the responsibility of raising kids, educating kids and training kids is up to the parents and not the state. Once the state gets involved, it becomes too arbitrary." He also believed that the proposed law was unconstitutional.
Paul's supporters say he is willing to take unpopular positions in order to defend what he regards as constitutional limited government.
He has been criticized at times for his voting record, being the only dissenting vote against giving Pope John Paul II, Rosa Parks and Mother Teresa the Congressional Gold Medal of Honor. According to Texas Monthly, “When he was criticized for voting against the medal [for Parks], he chided his colleagues by challenging them to personally contribute $100 to mint the medal. No one did, of course. At the time, Paul observed, ‘It's easier to be generous with other people's money.’”
In a speech on 25 June 2003, criticizing giving Tony Blair a Gold Medal of Honor, Paul said, “These medals generally have been proposed to recognize a life of service and leadership, and not for political reasons — as evidenced by the overwhelming bipartisan support for awarding President Reagan, a Republican, a gold medal. These awards normally go to deserving individuals, which is why I have many times offered to contribute $100 of my own money, to be matched by other members, to finance these medals.” Texas Monthly awarded him the “Bum Steer” award for voting against a congressional honor for cartoonist Charles Schulz.
He views the new American Community Survey questions as “both ludicrous and insulting”, viewing that the information is simply none of the government's business.
On January 22, 2007, Paul was the lone member out of 415 voting to oppose a House measure to create a National Archives exhibit on slavery and Reconstruction.
Of 9/11 Paul has said "the investigations that have been done so far as more or less cover-up and no real explanation of what went on".
On 11 January 2007, Paul filed papers to form an exploratory committee for the 2008 presidential race. This will increase his fund raising opportunities until his presumed eventual announcement.
The Associated Press reports:
Kent Snyder, the chairman of Paul’s exploratory committee and a former staffer on Paul’s Libertarian campaign, said the congressman knows he’s a long shot.
Snyder said Paul is running to win, not just to make a point or to try to ensure that his issues are addressed. Paul is expected to formally announce his bid in the next week or two, Snyder said. Snyder said Paul and his supporters are not intimidated by the presence of nationally known and better-financed candidates, such as Sen. John McCain of Arizona or former Gov. Mitt Romney of Massachusetts.
“This is going to be a grassroots American campaign,” he said. “For us, it’s either going to happen at the grassroots level or it’s not.”
On 22 January 2007, Reason Magazine Senior Editor Brian Doherty interviewed Paul about his presidential bid. When asked about what issues he would emphasize, Paul responded:
Everything I’ve talked about for 20 years! I think the biggest thing for Republican primary voters is that most Republicans are turned off right now. They’ve had a beating and are reassessing their values. They have to decide what they believe in. The Republican Party has become about big government conservatism, and Republicans need to hear the message they used to hear: that conservatives are supposed to be for small government.
Paul also indicated that his grassroots campaign will attempt to take full advantage of the Internet.
NewsMax.com reported in January 2007 that many libertarians and conservatives may be turning towards Paul because they are frustrated by their early option in the 2008 front-runners.
On 20 February 2007 Paul's exploratory committee posted a formal video of him explaining his reason for running on YouTube.
Books by Ron Paul:
* Challenge to Liberty
* The Case for Gold. ISBN 0-932790-31-3.
* A Republic, If You Can Keep It
* Mises and Austrian Economics: A Personal View. Auburn, AL: Ludwig von Mises Institute, 1984.
Texas's 14th congressional district stretches from the Gulf Coast in Galveston and Chambers counties almost to Corpus Christi; north through Victoria; and east through Jackson and Wharton counties toward Houston. It includes western parts of Fort Bend county, then slopes south through Brazoria county.
* Washington: 203 Cannon House Office Building, Washington, DC 20515. Phone Number: (202) 225-2831
* Lake Jackson, Texas: 122 West Way, Suite 301, Lake Jackson, TX 77566. Phone Number: (979) 285-0231
* Victoria, Texas: 312 S Main Street, Suite 229, Victoria, TX 77901. Phone Number: (361) 576-1231
* Galveston, Texas: 601 25th Street, Suite 216, Galveston, TX 77550. Phone Number: (409) 766-7013
* In addition, Ron Paul's office runs a toll-free telephone line with a recorded message updated weekly at (888) 322-1414.