A lot of independents like Rand Paul because he's so different from a lot of U.S. Senators who go to Washington to lie low, not make any waves, bring back something for the constituents, and enjoy the smooth sailing of a cush job in a prestigious career pinnacle position. Maybe despite (or because of) a completely undistinguished career in the Senate chamber with no controversial stands or anything important, they'll get tapped to be Vice President.
But the Kentucky ophthalmologist was swept into Washington during a pivotal moment when the people of the Commonwealth of Kentucky along with so many kindred and very independent– you could say "unbridled"– spirits across the country felt that the productive sectors of this country and the families they're responsible for had been taxed enough already, and over regulated, and under-served by a federal government beholden to the special interests that have gathered around Washington like a dark cloud.
So Paul took his mandate from the people seriously and went to Washington to have some uncomfortable, but long overdue conversations about how to untangle and sort out this behemoth mess the federal government has become.
But here are 8 things about Rand Paul you might not know:
1. Rand Paul cuts his own hair.
He's too busy to get it cut.
2. Rand is short for Randall.
People think his libertarian dad, 12-term U.S. Congressman Ron Paul, must have named him after the novelist and conservative / libertarian icon of the 1960s, Ayn Rand, but he did not.
But the Kentucky Senator's wife started calling him Rand when they were dating so the nickname stuck.
3. Rand is a strong swimmer.
He's so good at swimming in fact, that he taught swim lessons as a teenager to make extra spending money. And he was a collegiate swimmer at Baylor University.
4. His 2010 Senate opponent ran an extremely bizarre attack ad against him
Baylor University is where Rand was going to school when– an anonymous source alleged to GQ of all publications, in 2010 during his Senate race– that he and a friend kidnapped her and made her worship their god, Aqua Buddha. She later backpedaled and said it was all just a prank and a joke.
When his Democratic opponent, who was Kentucky's Attorney General at the time, ran with the story and actually attacked Rand Paul for being an Aqua Buddhist in one of the strangest political attack ads ever made, his poll numbers took a major dive. Kentucky voters probably felt like their intelligence was being insulted.
5. He's got a green thumb
A proud advocate of legalizing industrial hemp in Kentucky, which holds a lot of promise as a lucrative cash crop for the state, Rand Paul just has a passion for good cultivation of plant resources. He loves to work in his yard on his days off.
6. Rand Paul got assaulted by his neighbor while mowing his lawn
Rand Paul actually got attacked by his neighbor while mowing his lawn last year and sustained six severely broken ribs in the assault, which the neighbor says was a dispute over Paul's meticulous lawn maintenance. He's since healed up nicely and the neighbor is facing federal charges for assaulting a member of Congress.
7. Rand Paul is a shooting survivor
Earlier last year, Rand Paul was at congressional baseball practice when a shooter asked if the politicians on the field were Republicans, and then opened fire on them, severely wounding a senior GOP congressman. Rand Paul survived without any major injuries.
8. Rand Paul does free eye surgery
Before he got into politics, Rand Paul was a practicing eye surgeon who restores people's 20/20 vision.
Since becoming Senator, he's done free eye surgeries to give back to the community and keep his skills sharp.