U.S. Sen. Rand Paul will deliver a speech to students at one of the nation’s oldest historically black colleges next week, part of the Kentucky Republican’s new push to reach out to minority voters as he explores a potential 2016 presidential bid.
Business Insider has learned that Paul will deliver remarks at Howard University in Washington, D.C., next Wednesday morning — just one month before former President Bill Clinton is scheduled to deliver the university’s commencement address.
According to a senior Paul aide, his speech will focus on school choice, civil liberties, and reforming federal mandatory minimum sentencing laws. Paul will also speak about the “history of the Republican Party and African American voters,” the aide told Business Insider.
Paul’s speech comes as the GOP moves to step up its appeal to minority and youth voters in the wake of the party’s dismal 2012 showing among those groups. In its election autopsy report released last month, the Republican National Committee called for greater “inclusion,” including extensive outreach to women, African-American, Asian, Hispanic and gay voters, backing comprehensive immigration reform, and increasing candidate recruitment in minority communities.
In what is perhaps another sign of his national ambitions, Paul appears to be trying to take the lead on these outreach efforts. The Kentucky Senator made overtures to Latino voters last month, announcing his support for a path to citizenship for undocumented immigrants in a speech to the Hispanic Chamber of Commerce.
Later this spring, Paul plans to deliver remarks on school choice and education reform with a group of black pastors in Louisville, Ky.
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