My name is Patrick Kelly. I'm 26-years old. I develop software during the day, and I'm running for US congress in Kentucky's 6th District.

I'm saying this is an AMA, I'm keeping it AMA, but rather than turn this into a political debate, I figured we could use this more as a way for me to share what it's been like trying to run for the past several months and what my expectations are. A lot of people on here have stated an interest in running and so I wanted to show you the easy and hard parts.

If you do have any questions about my stances, check my webpage first, and I'd be happy to clarify anything. To save some time I'll tell you I'm anti-NDAA, anti-SOPA/PIPA/internet regulation, anti-patriot act, anti-drug war, pro-legalization, anti-war, pro-marriage equality, pro-thorium, among a host of other things and my opponents support of these things is a big part of why I got into the race. While we on reddit may not agree on the details of everything, I think it's important that most of us probably share the same goals and that it's important to keep a civil discussion.


Facebook page

EDIT Wow, what an enormous response. I'm trying to respond to as many of you as I can. I'm sorry if I don't get to your questions, but thank you so much for the support or general interest. 1300 or so comments is a lot to handle.

I want to say an extra thank you to those of you that have kept it civil and have been respectful, even though we may disagree on some key issues. James Madison intended congress to be run by forming coalitions based on issues, not on party lines. Unfortunately, our founders were not able to predict the damage done by political parties. I am glad to see there are those that can look past our differences and realize that someone who is an 80% friend is not a 20% enemy.

To those of you that chose to result to name calling and slander: U MAD BRO?

I'm going to try to put in an extra 30-40 minutes tonight answering, and I'll try to hit some more up tomorrow, though I do have a serious code run through to get done. Once again, thank you all!

EDIT 2 I realize I didn't put a time when I said 30-40 minutes, so lets make that 11:45 EST-ish

Comments: 2452 • Responses: 27  • Date: 

senator_mccarthy758 karma

Are you now, or have you ever been, a member of the communist party?

PatrickKelly2012212 karma

It depends on the circumstances. I could answer it, but if I did, I would hate myself in the morning.

kraytex611 karma


If elected you're going to be the only Congressmen who knows what thorium is.

PatrickKelly2012505 karma

I'll tell you, nothing is more awesome than busting out information on LFTRs at a debate and having the other candidates go "well...coal...and pipelines". Engineers FTW!

Teman111150 karma

Are you pro all nuclear energy, or only pro thorium reactors? What is your stance on things like fuel reprocessing and breeder reactors?

What would you do about the massive backlog of spent nuclear fuel from our current reactors, that under the Nuclear Waste Policy Act is the responsibility of the Department of Energy?

PatrickKelly2012320 karma

I'm pretty pro-nuclear as long as it can be done safely, and Molten Salt Reactors go a long way in ensuring safety. The nuclear failures in the past have unfortunately done a lot of damage to the name and so it's important that we have the right people with understanding. I think LFTRs, especially when explained by Kirk Sorensen, can undo a lot of that damage. I'm generally ok with fuel reprocessing and breeder reactors.

The backlog is a big problem, and it's not something I'm well researched on so I don't have an answer on it, but it is something I would heavily study before making any rash decisions.

jonnyozero3311 karma's not something I'm well researched on so I don't have an answer on it, but it is something I would heavily study before making any rash decisions.


FalseValidationRobot57 karma

i would prefer a candidate whom blatantly bullshits with confidence and ignorance, maintaining his/her image of supremacy over my feeble mind. thats leadership.

PatrickKelly201268 karma

I love WKUK. It was horrible to find out how Abraham Lincoln really died.

massada72 karma

As someone who spent a solid 5+ years designing/proving these systems are safe, it is extremely nice to hear a representative speak positively of them (Molten Salt Reactors in general). How do you stand on Nuclear in general? What about SMRs and TWRs? Are you for or against re-processing? What do you think is a feasible system for long term storage? What is your counter argument going to be against the people who argue that U-233 is just as weaponizable as Plutonium, and harder to store, and more dangerous to reprocess? Sorry for the slew of quetions. I always donate to the causes of scientifically inclined congressmen, regardless of political inclination. The fact that you are a Constitutionalist makes me wish you were in Texas.

PatrickKelly201266 karma

Geebus, definitely a lot of questions. I do want to clarify that I generally have just a high interest in the field and that I am not a nuclear scientist, but being an engineer goes a long way

I'm very pro-nuclear in general. It's a good thing overall when it can be done safely. As far as the specifics go for all of your questions, I'd really like to open up the floor to a lot of these alternatives. As much as I like LFTRs, they of course aren't the proven end all be all. A lot of time an development still needed, but I really do believe MSRs are one of the biggest tools to getting the public back on Nuclear's side. When you can demonstrate how much safer they are, you'll win over a lot of people.

I've only done a small amount of research on SMRs and TWRs. I like the safety features of SMRs and it seems like they may be an easy sell overall. Much more plausible to construct than TWRs. I'm generally ok with fuel reprocessing. As I mentioned before, I'm really not sure about long term storage. This is one of the things I'm least researched on, same as the arguments with weaponizable u-233, but if I were making a decision on it or any of the subjects above, you can be damn sure I would be by the time the vote came or I introduced legislation.

I hope I satisfied your questions. The whole SOPA debate just proved to me how unqualified most of these people in Washington are to make tech decisions. If they can't understand the internet, I don't even want to imagine them trying to figure out nuclear. I hope I can be an understanding voice in the crowd and be a leader on taking off many of our needless restrictions and barriers on the development of better energy.

aengvir437 karma

What do you think the outcome of the legalization of marijuana would be? How would we regulate it's sale? What is your stance on the dispensaries located in California (good/bad)?

PatrickKelly2012505 karma

The outcome would be nothing but positive. You'd take drug money out of the hands of cartels and gangs. You'd stop arresting and jailing non-violent people who do no harm to others. You'd go a long way to ending our overpopulation of prisons. And you'd actually reduce the number of drug users over time, particularly among teenagers.

Leave it up to the states to regulate it as they please just like we leave alcohol.

My view on the dispensaries are they're better than what we had, but I'd rather see it just move to something closer to alcohol sales. A lot of the dispensaries don't want weed to be legal because they have a cartel running on it now. Some people view this as a better way to control drug sales, but I just see it as a way to keep prices high. Of course, being in KY, I don't have any right to tell CA what to do, and I wouldn't vote to force them to legalize or anything. If CA wants to keep a dispensary system then they can. And if NY wants to keep pot completely illegal, they can, but we shouldn't have a federal ban on it or any other drug, because it simply doesn't work.

aengvir125 karma

Not sure why I was downvoted for asking this but, thank you for your response. I wish you the best of luck in the future.

PatrickKelly2012205 karma

I don't know either, I upvoted you. Thanks for your question

JobbersMC400 karma

How well do you document your code?

PatrickKelly2012147 karma

I like to comment lightly, but highly detailed. I hate opening a class and having to read a novel. My code should be obvious enough to what it does, and I'll comment where it isn't or you need to know more details. I work on a team of about 20, and no one has ever had to ask me what a class or function does. So I consider that a success.

binlargin48 karma

I'll tag some more code related questions on here:

  1. Do you work on open source / free software? If so, can we see some code?
  2. What languages do you write in, which is your favourite and why?
  3. What's your favourite free software license, and why?
  4. Which people/person within the software world do you admire the most?

PatrickKelly201255 karma

1) I unfortunately do not work on any open source. I really want to, but I just haven't had the time. Instead I work with CS students and enthusiasts at my non-profit and get them to try and launch companies and products. 2) I write in Java for work, but I also do a decent bit of C# and C++. I actually like C# the most, but that's mostly due to my foundation being 6 years of C++. I really like it's integration with WPF and I do a decent bit of fooling around in XNA and with Kinect. It's one of the few things I really like that Microsoft has done. 3) Do you mean as far as licenses I use? I like using LGPL more than anything. I hate forcing someone to make something GPL just because mine was GPL. 4) Though C# is my preferred language, I'd actually say Joshua Bloch after reading Effective Java. That book changed my life.

HandsomeMirror160 karma

Since you believe in smaller government, do you support cutting funding for and downsizing NASA, the NIH, and the NSF?

PatrickKelly2012172 karma

So, this is definitely a catchy area for me, because I freaking love science, and what helps the poor and the needy and everyone in general the most is the economic and technological advancement of society. My concern is does government do it right and does it do it best, and, when you actually have a free society and low barriers to entry, the answer is no.

The big problem of course is that government puts a lot of barriers in place. It's out of control patent laws, it's huge control of the medical industry, etc. These things prevent a lot of what could be happening without government funding. So if you cut funding to science now with these barriers still in place, will we get the necessary research and advancement done? I'm really not sure of this answer, and so my first priority would be to remove a lot of what prevents private funding of science from working better.

Once we remove these barriers, then I think it's much more fair to have that discussion about should we cut some of these things. A lot of these programs are notoriously wasteful, and while some of them do research some really amazing things, there is often a lot of questions about whether or not it is the best use of our resources. Are we better off researching for water on Mars, or could those resources be better allocated solving much more relevant things to our immediate future? Are we dealing with a step 10 problem at step 2?

Unfortunately, I think a lot of times we fall victim to the seen at the expense of the unseen. We see many of the useful things that have occurred because of government funding of science, but not many of the things that it has cost us. Everything we do comes at the expense of not doing something else. We often don't see the failures and waste in government programs, but we always see their successes. Government is a lot more willing to take risks on things, but are they the right risks, and are they the best use of the people involved's time.

The upside is I think government funding of science will become more and more irrelevant over the next 100 years. I say that with the look towards things like Kickstarter. This year, Kickstarter will out-fund the national endowment of the arts in arts. And we see similar things happening in science. There's a really great startup company in Ohio called SoMoLend which allows for easily pooled resource lending. People are able to group their money and fund the things they think need to be funded much more easily.

so, in summary

tl;dr There are things we have to fix first before I would make cutting any of that a priority. Get government out of the way of science and create an environment where people can prosper and do research freely, and you won't need government funding of science.

[deleted]103 karma

How do you feel about government provided healthcare / obamacare?

PatrickKelly2012282 karma

I feel it's a solution to fix a symptom rather than a solution to fix a problem. The problem is rising healthcare costs. We used to have very cheap medical care in the US, but government manipulation through things like the HMO act of 1973 disconnected the price controls from the system which caused prices tospiral out of control. Other countries that have universal healthcare hide the rising costs through mandating prices or wages, but it also comes at a cost as well. Hospitals run on deficits. Doctors leave countries for better wages elsewhere. Granted, these systems would help a lot more people in the short term than our current system, but I'd rather fix what's broken and build a better system.

The alternative is that we bring price controls back into the system by ending many of the mandates and restrictions on insurance. We've tried to force insurance to become something that it wasn't meant to be. Insurance should be there to protect you against the unexpected, not against the routine. I personally operate under an High Deductible Health Plan and a Health Savings Account, and I've been able to save myself a lot of money, even with having medical emergencies. My maximum out of pocket expenses with my current plan are less than my minimum out of pocket expenses with an HMO. I am able to pick my service provider and reward the provider that provides the best service at the cheapest price. If more people were on HDHPs and HSAs, we'd be able to majorly drive down the cost of medical care in the US. The problem is more and more restrictions are being added on to them every year.

Another thing we could do to drive down the cost of health care is make a lot more things over the counter and allow more products that are proven to work over seas be accepted here without the need to go through 12 years of FDA approval.

Lambboy85 karma

You stated in r/libertarian that taxation is theft.

A member of congress makes $174,000 per year.

Are you still going to cash your check if you get the job?

PatrickKelly201249 karma

We should pay our legislatures, but nowhere near what they make. I haven't decided to what degree, but I will be returning around half of that salary directly to the state in some way, either through a check to the state or by investing it in some charity. I'll probably just match my current salary + whatever it costs to maintain an apartment in DC. I do plan on rooming with some friends though. That's a sitcom waiting to happen. I will absolutely not participate in the pension plan.

Drainedsoul66 karma

pro-marriage equality

I want to marry these two women who also want to marry me.

Are you in favour of this y/n?

Also: Why are you "pro-marriage equality" and not "pro-government not regulating/licensing marriage at all"?

PatrickKelly2012139 karma

You should be able to if you want, I'm not in favor of it, but that's your choice.

And as far as government not regulating marriage, I agree, it shouldn't. It's just a lot easier to say "pro-marriage equality" than it is to explain why government shouldn't be involved with marriage. This path is actually a lot easier than trying to get government to endorse gay marriage. I don't know how many people I've spoken to who are completely for banning gay marriage but are ok with ending government licensing marriages. It's a much more equal and neutral ground than people think.

RommMittney54 karma

Do you believe in the separation between church and state?

PatrickKelly2012162 karma

The most Christian form of government is a non-religious government, I go to church and my father is an ordained minister, but forcing religion upon anyone goes against the founding principles of Christianity. That we are free to choose to follow God or reject him, and forcing anyone to accept him in any way is a violation of that.

gigaquack54 karma

Have you thought about hiring an image consultant? Not trying to offend, I just think it would be a worthwhile expenditure.

PatrickKelly201288 karma


A lot on the plate before then, but I do have a good marketer.

Really_Likes_Nutella48 karma

What OS do you use?

PatrickKelly201298 karma

In my daily use, I use Unix, Linux (Ubuntu), OS X, Windows 7, and Windows XP. So my desktop usage is pretty all over the place depending on what I'm working on, but I don't own an iPhone or iPad, so I only use Android in the mobile world.

jjordan46 karma

Have you considered/sought an endorsement from the Republican Liberty Caucus? Your views seem to match up well.

On your Budget page, you mention Rand Paul's 2011 budget proposal. He released a new one for FY 2013 recently.

I recommend increasing the default font size across the content of your website. The largest voting bloc has trouble reading small letters.

As a US congressman, I will vote to authorize the use of armed forces against our enemies, but only when that war is just, only when that war is necessary, and only when I would be willing to send my family and myself to the front lines.

Very well said. Liberty high-five!

PatrickKelly201228 karma

I applied to them last week and I haven't heard back yet. Definitely like the RLC though. I also sent in my application to C4L.

I have been meaning to update my page to include that. Thanks for the reminder.

And thanks, I will look into reformatting things a little.

deathcapt41 karma

Good luck, I"m a 26 year old Software engineer and have considered running for office.

PatrickKelly2012113 karma

DO IT! Washington needs more engineers and less lawyers.

[deleted]31 karma


PatrickKelly201237 karma

I have not, but thanks for the contact! Sending him a message right now.

rhalsmith27 karma

All research and successful drug policy shows that treatment should be increased and law enforcement decreased while abolishing mandatory minimum sentences.

Hahahaha, well hell, I'd vote for you.

System of a Down reference in policy write-up about drug law - third paragraph, first sentence. Hilarious.

My question, do you browse 4chan?

PatrickKelly201233 karma

In all fairness, there wasn't much to do on the internet before reddit existed.

FourIV21 karma

do you subscribe to /r/beards?

good beard btw.

Xatana18 karma

I am looking to run for office in neighboring state, Tennessee, probably in about a decade or so. If you could, briefly tell me what I can expect (I will be about age 30). What is the hardest thing you've had to tackle? What is the biggest misconception? Are you facing any age discrimination?

PatrickKelly201247 karma

Each state has it's different rules of course, but getting registered was a lot easier than I thought. Here it only took $500 and 2 signatures from registered party members. Your secretary of state typically will have all the information you need. Some states require a minimum number of signatures much larger than 2:P

The biggest thing you need to have to win a campaign is fundraising of course, but, as a part of that, the hardest thing I've had to tackle is making sure that the right people know that I'm running, that they're inviting me to events, and having those 3-5 minute speeches prepared. I have an 18 county district, each with their own individual groups and county chairs, and being a lesser known individual, unfortunately a lot of them don't just call you out of the blue. You need to make these connections and remind them that you exist and have them invite you to anything and everything they hold. You won't always be able to make everything, but you need to make them feel like you care about their county, because if they ever feel that you don't, they're not going to go out of their way to invite you to anything. If you can get people to do this for you, even better.

Another hard thing for me is balancing work, life, and campaign. It's making sure that I don't half-ass too much stuff. Ideally, I would have liked to make my first campaign run a few more years down the road when I'm more financially stable, but at the moment I still have to maintain a 40-hour work week (Actually at work right now, slow day, waiting on a system to come back up). If you're planning on running in the future, try to set yourself up to be comfortable enough financially that you can take some serious time off

The biggest misconception I had is actually that I'd be a lot more ignored than I am. I knew there were people who would like me in the region. I made some connections before. but the response is a lot more positive. There are plenty of people that don't connect with what is being sold to them by the main party people, and they want other options. It's actually been a great experience just connecting with people and letting them know that there is someone running that shares their beliefs.

The only people that gave me a serious question about my age was the local newspaper in an interview. A lot of officials in the party are actually emphasize my age that it's great that they have young people enthusiastic about politics. I use it to my advantage as much as possible to distinguish myself from the rest of congress. When congress has an 8% approval rating, saying you're different isn't that bad of a thing

poeman13 karma

Can you bring Firefly back on the air?

PatrickKelly201224 karma


*Air may mean literal and not on television

jhaluska12 karma

Have you ever considered how our laws are written like really poor software? There are very little to reviews. Deadlines are crazy. It's never cleaned up, debugged or maintained. Would you be a proponent for imposing some strict software engineering practices to improve our legal system?

PatrickKelly201224 karma

Absolutely. I think every law should have to undergo code review and re-approval every few years. There should always be sunset clauses and benchmarks for types of programs. If you can't prove that it worked or did what it was supposed to, change it or scrap it.

CornBreadLibertarian10 karma

How'd you go about running for congress. Have you ever held a political position before? How'd you go about getting support? Etc.

PatrickKelly201230 karma

I went down to the office and applied. The back story is I was just sitting with some friends and arguing about the presidential race, then we saw my main opponent whom I disagree with on many issues was running unopposed and I hate that. So I decided it's time to put up or shut up. This is the first year I was eligible to run for Congress, but I honestly had no intention of running before mid January this year.

Nope. Never held any political office, though I have run several non-profits and owned my own business.

I get support by going and talking anywhere I can. If you can get a mailing list of registered party members and likely voters, it helps a lot to send out material, and anytime there's anything remotely political, I go and try to at least shake hands if not speak.

Aiyon3 karma

You're a software engineer. That makes you more computer-literate than most of congress.

Couple that with software development being something close to my heart (dear god, I could code all day if I didn't have to to other work), and it's such a shame I'm not American, because you'd have my vote.

EDIT: Realised I do have a question.

You're a christian, you said so yourself. Is your belief going to have any impact on your political actions? That's one of the major things for me, even though it's not the UK I like to know where people draw the line between religion and politics, and how much they think the two should be allowed to mix.

PatrickKelly20125 karma

I think it would be un-Christian of me to force my faith on anyone. It has an effect on my character and who I am, but not on my policy. The only religious interference in my policy that you'll see is me insisting that religion doesn't interfere in anyone's policy.

redditacct3 karma

The countries with the highest level of transparency seem to have the highest quality of life and some of the lowest levels of official corruption.
Any stand on that issue - transparency?

PatrickKelly20125 karma

Absolutely need more transparency. I plan to follow Justin Amash's path and post every single vote I make on facebook with justifications and reasoning. We need to keep government accountable.