By: Andrew Augustus
With Tuesday’s presidential preference primary rapidly approaching, Republican candidate Ron Paul came to Rhode Island to speak to one of his largest groups of supporters – college students. Over 2,000 people packed the Frank W. Keaney Gymnasium on the University of Rhode Island’s Kingston Campus last Wednesday to listen to Paul. The event was sponsored by URI Youth for Ron Paul. The event was kicked off by Barry Hinckley, the current front-runner for the Republican nomination to run against incumbent Democratic U.S. Sen. Sheldon Whitehouse. Hinckley started off by announcing that Ron Paul was in the building, then continued to briefly talk about his own campaign hopes, before passing the microphone over to the chair of URI Youth for Ron Paul, Manny Cumplido. Cumplido gave a quick, passionate speech about Paul, stating why he feels Paul represents what is best for the country. At the conclusion of Cumplido’s speech, Paul was introduced, and was greeted with a standing ovation, along with chants such as “President Paul.” Paul, who was accompanied by his wife and a granddaughter, spoke to the crowd about what was wrong with our current political system and what he plans to do if elected. When discussing problems with the Federal Reserve, the crowd immediately erupted into an “End the Fed” chant, which echoed throughout the gymnasium. Paul also talked about drug policies, immigration, pulling troops out of foreign wars and many other issues. “We want every vote. A small state is still significant,” said Paul when asked why he decided to take his campaign to Rhode Island. The attendees consisted of a very diverse population, ranging from college students to the elderly and veterans to state representatives. State Senator and Rhode Island College student Nick Kettle was in attendance, and said he was impressed with Paul’s speech. “I am blown away by what he said. He has the only plan to fix the country and the dire problems we have right now,” said Kettle. When Romney recently visited the Ocean State, he drew around 300 attendees, while Paul attracted close to 2,000 people. The Rhode Island primary is set to be held on Tuesday, April 24.