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Booker's bus travels to reach Kentuckians of all backgrounds – Spectrum News NY1

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Charles Booker, the Democratic candidate for U.S. Senate, grew up in Louisville’s West End and says Kentucky needs a leader who understand the “pain of poverty.” 
A recent ranking by WalletHub showed Kentucky has 16.6% share of population in poverty. That gives the state a ranking of 47 in that category. 
Two years ago, Booker lost the Democratic primary for Senate to Amy McGrath, who was eventually defeated by Sen. Mitch McConnell. Now, Booker is taking on Republican Sen. Rand Paul, who has been in office since 2011. 
Booker is a former state representative who also served as the director of administrative services for the state Department of Fish and Wildlife in Gov. Steve Beshear’s administration. 
It’s crunch time in the race for U.S. Senate in Kentucky and candidates are traveling across the state. @Booker4KY is set a goal of making over 100 stops in the last few weeks of the campaign with a goal of reaching people from all backgrounds. pic.twitter.com/TM7Je3NseF
When asked what motivated him to run again, Booker said, “It was actually my wife saying, ‘You should run against Rand Paul.’ And me saying, ‘Yes, ma’am!’” 
If elected Booker would be only the 12th Black senator in U.S history and the first from Kentucky.
“Everything that we do, everything that we touch, there are inequities that are involved that we may not see,” Booker said. “Race is going to be interwoven in everything, but I’m not running for Senate to make history. I’m not running to be the first Black Kentuckian to be in federal office. I’m running for my family and I’m tired of seeing Kentuckians be screwed.” 
If elected, Booker would be the 12th Black senator in U.S. history and the first from Kentucky. "Race is interwoven in everything, but I’m not running for Senate to make history," Booker said. "I’m running for my family and I’m tired of seeing Kentuckians be screwed." pic.twitter.com/pJTv3ofLZb
Booker said that addressing structural racism by making voting more accessible for all people is a key focus for his campaign. He is also stressing the preservation of abortion rights. 
“We need to protect the rights and agency of human beings to make decisions over their lives. This is a first day order of business and President Biden said he would send that legislation over to protect the rights of women and those that become pregnant,” Booker said. 
In just a couple of weeks voters will be asked whether the Kentucky Constitution should be amended to say, “To protect human life, nothing in this Constitution shall be construed to secure or protect a right to abortion or require the funding of abortion.” 
Booker and others who support abortion rights are asking Kentuckians to vote “no” on Amendment 2. 
“I really believe in his message. He’s always been an advocate for women. He’s always been an advocate for healthcare,” said Kecia Copeland after Booker spoke to supporters at a park in Bardstown, Kentucky. 
It’s not just abortion rights supporters who want to talk about the issue at Booker’s events. A woman who said she opposes abortion rights spoke out during one of his events, saying this issue would decide her vote and that she was using her faith to guide her in the decision.
Booker responded, “I respect your personal belief. My concern and my problem is the role of the government. The government should not be enforcing personal beliefs.”
With the election less two weeks away, Booker and Paul still have not debated. Kentucky Educational Television invited both men to debate earlier this month, but only Booker appeared. Instead of a debate it was a one-on-one conversation with Booker. KET said Paul did not respond to their invitation to participate. 
“My call still stands. I will debate Rand Paul anywhere, any time. I’ll come to him. We can debate in front of his office. We can debate in his yard,” Booker said. “The people of the Kentucky deserve a leader who will show up, speak their vision.” 
Paul said he will not debate claiming that Booker’s supporters, “advocated for violence against him.” 
Paul’s campaign has posted ads focused on that topic. 
“Neither I, nor my campaign, have ever endorsed violence against any political candidate. It is despicable for Rand Paul to even insinuate that,” Booker said in statement. 
Paul has raised far more money than Booker and it’s been 30 years since Kentucky has sent a Democrat to represent the commonwealth in the Senate. 
“It’s really about rallying our family to do what a lot of folks think is impossible and we’re going to shock the world on November 8th,” Booker said when asked if he could win this race. 

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