Sundi Rose
April 07, 2015 3:01 pm

As you’ve likely already heard, today Rand Paul — the senator from Kentucky — announced himself as a candidate for the Republican presidential nomination. Of course this announcement means there are a whole lot of people fine tooth combing his life now and looking for all kinds of juicy personal and political deets on the Senator.

We immediately fine tooth combed our way over to the Rand Paul store where you can purchase a variety of Rand Paul related super-oddities. Including, but not limited to:

This Rand Paul eye chart (with a very pointed message):

This giant Rand Paul birthday card:

This emblazoned Rand Paul board, for all your bag toss need:

A Rand Paul NSA spy cam blocker:

The list goes on.

But let’s get serious for a minute. Who is Rand Paul and what do we, as voting Americans, need to know about him. Here’s the skinny.

Who is Rand Paul? 

You probably remember his dad, Ron Paul, from election years gone by (he’s run three times). Both men are Republicans with libertarian roots. Rand Paul currently serves as the United States Senator for Kentucky.

How did he announce his candidacy? 

He is only the second official candidate that we have right now. The other is Texas-senator Ted Cruz, there have yet to be any official announcements from the Democrats. Rand Paul announced his entry into the 2016 presidential race today via a rally in his home state of Kentucky. He told the audience in his speech, “Today I announce with God’s help, with the help of liberty lovers everywhere, that I’m putting myself forward as a candidate for president of the United States of America.”

In a nutshell what are his views? 

As a libertarian, Rand Paul values civil liberties, takes an anti-intervention stand on foreign policy, and promotes general family values. In his announcement speech today he more pointedly defined his political philosophy saying, “The Washington machine that gobbles up our freedoms and invades every nook and cranny of our lives must be stopped. I want to be part of a return to prosperity.”

His position on healthcare, as defined by his website:

“As your President, one of my first acts would be to repeal the abomination that is Obamacare.”

His position on abortion:

“Our government should not be responsible for funding abortions, and as President, I will attempt to stop the flow of taxpayer dollars to groups who perform or advocate for abortion.”

His position on gun control:  

“I will not support any proposed gun control law which would limit the right to gun ownership by those who are responsible, law-abiding citizens.”

His position on education:

“The Federal Government should not dictate what happens in our local classrooms.  I believe we must abolish Common Core and give control back to the states, localities and parents.”

As for who else is running, The New York Times provided us with this handy-dandy legend.

Paul’s announcement is likely just the second of many that will drop throughout April. Marco Rubio has scheduled a “special announcement” for April 13, and Hillary Clinton will likely follow within a few weeks, as well.

The best thing about the campaign starting so early, is that you have plenty of time to study up on who our candidates are. The Atlantic provides a pretty good cheat sheet, and we will also be here to give you the details on who is hoping to run our country.

Just remember: Stay informed, stick to your convictions, and vote.