Presidential candidate Rand Paul visited Smokey Row Coffee Shop in Oskaloosa Friday morning. After being introduced by Mahaska County Supervisor Mark Doland, Paul spoke to around 100 people, highlighted by discussion on eminent domain.
Paul started out by joking about the wet weather in the area.
“Thanks everybody for coming out today, and thanks for sharing your snow with me. We’ve been driving up through what looks like a complete white-out. Now it’s turning to rain, which it’ll turn to slosh, but I did bring my snow boots, so I’m prepared for it,” stated Paul.
He then went on to talk about eminent domain. Paul stated that one of the worst powers one can give the government is the power to take property. He mentioned Kelo v. City of New London, Connecticut, where the Supreme Court ruled 5-4 that the government can take private property from an owner and give the property to another private owner through eminent domain, based on which one of the property owners would pay more in property taxes.
Paul then related this to what has happened in California.
“They have actually gone to a church and said, ‘We’re going to take the church through eminent domain, because the church is not paying any taxes,’” Paul said.
Paul then explained how fellow presidential candidate Donald Trump has used eminent domain when attempting to build casinos.
“We have one candidate, Donald Trump, who’s made his living building casinos, but he doesn’t go to town and ask you to sell your land, he comes to town and he says to the local authories, ‘Condemn their land and give it to me.” You don’t believe me? Ask Vera Coking. She had lived in her house for thirty years. Donald Trump came to town, bought off the mayor. He said, ‘I’m building a casino.’ Vera Coking said ‘I’m not selling,’ and he said ‘Well we’re going to condemn your land,’ and took her to court. This little old lady had lived in her house for thirty years, she fought Donald Trump and she beat him,” stated Paul.
In 1998, the Superior Court of New Jersey ruled in favor of Vera Coking, stating that Trump and the local government could not use eminent domain to acquire the property.
As for eminent domain in our area, especially in regards to the new proposed airport in rural Mahaska and Marion Counties, Paul was clear in his intentions should he become President.
“I will not let the government take any of your property through eminent domain and give it to somebody else,” Paul said, to applause.
Paul also spoke on limiting government spending, taxes, debt, and war.
Oskaloosa was one of five stops on the campaign trail for the Kentucky Senator on Friday.
The campaign leads up to the February 1st Iowa Caucuses.
Story by George Henry