Earlier this week, Kentucky Senator Rand Paul presented a giant check to the U.S. Treasury for $500,000; about 16% of his office’s budget that wasn’t spent and therefore returned. It was a bright day in Kentucky, not just because tax payers saw their money being spent more frugally than previous office holders, but because we saw a politician putting his money (in giant check form) where his mouth is – a rarity in politics.
While the fiscal hawks of the state were still beaming about this happening, another story broke about $500,000 – from a republican of a different breed. Former Ag Commissioner Richie Farmer (previous GOP hopeful) was audited by the new Ag Commissioner, Republican James Comer. I should say that he lead a review on the Agriculture Department and found that his predecessor had done a little fluffing his money. The findings were sad and astonishing; nearly $500,000 in equipment was missing from the Agriculture Department.
This isn’t the first time that Comer had to air out the dirty laundry left behind by Farmer. On his first day in office, Comer fired 16 non-merit employees to include Farmer’s girlfriend who was only hired in the final days of his failed campaign as the running mate in Kentucky’s gubernatorial race. The guy who seemed to be heading nowhere but up has suddenly fallen back down to earth. We are left with disappointment.
The contrast of these two half-million dollar stories couldn’t be more defined. The problem is that this isn’t a secluded event, but a typical story in modern politics. We have an establishment guy who uses the position the voters entrusted to him irresponsibly and spends our money flippantly. On the other hand, we have a politician who practices what he preaches; fiscal responsibility.
Rand Paul has character and he doesn’t simply use the phrases “limited government” and “responsible government” to get attention – he believes in them. This disposition reminds me of a small town guy named Thomas Massie. I had the privilege of listening to Mr. Massie speak at a Tea Party rally last year, and I was supremely impressed. He reluctantly ran for the office of County Judge Executive in Lewis County here in Kentucky and surprised many by winning. He’s a small town guy that just happens to have an M.S. in Mechanical Engineering at MIT (no big deal).
It wasn’t his degree or his charisma that won me over (those are just icing), but it was all the ways he found to save his county money in the first few months he was in office. He had vowed to save the tax payers enough money to pay for his salary – and he did. Not only did he do it, he took initiatives beyond expectations. He traced down electric lines that the county was being billed for that didn’t actually have electricity running to it. He found land that they were paying rent on that wasn’t even owned by the people charging rent (Who knows how long they paid that bill? He got a refund.). When he got into office and they gave him the giant stack of bills to pay, he simply set them aside and waited for the collectors to justify their charges. Phones lines to nowhere, over paid contractors, waste abroad; it all came to a halt with Massie at the helm.
Now, I’m pleased to say, Mr. Massie is running for Congress (Kentucky’s 4th Congressional District). It should come as no surprise that he was encouraged to do so by none other than Sen. Rand Paul. If you want to continue seeing this kind of contrast in Congress, I recommend heading over to Thomas Massey’s website and giving your support – I know I will.
Update: I had been spelling his name wrong at times. It is Massie, not Massey that I, for some reason, put in a few spots. My apologies to Mr. Massie.
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