Conservatives are defined by their adherence to tradition and a reverence for liberty. And, in Kentucky, no one is better at weaving both ideas together than incumbent Senator Rand Paul, who seems poised to win reelection this November. Rand’s advantage can be attributed to representing Kentucky values and a forward-thinking conservatism in a compelling and recognizable way.

Polling done by RunSwitch PR and Harper Polling at the end of July confirms this view. Fifty percent of likely voters support Paul over his Democratic opponent, Lexington Mayor Jim Gray, who scored just 38 percent. One is left with the impression that Kentuckians overwhelmingly approve of the job Paul has done while in Washington, and it appears he will not face the dogfight he did in 2010 against Jack Conway.

And, why shouldn’t they be happy with his record? Rand Paul is in mostly in sync with Kentucky and her values, while Gray is not. Just this week, Gray expressed an unwillingness to stand up to a rogue Environmental Protection Agency, a move which puts him much at odds with rural families and coal miners in Kentucky who have borne the brunt of a bureaucratic crusade for the last eight years. Few Kentuckians believe a party run by Barack Obama, Hillary Clinton, and Bernie Sanders has room for a business or coal-friendly policymaker, as Gray claims to be.

Senator Paul’s work--along with former Kentucky Agriculture Commissioner James Comer, the soon to be Congressman from the First Congressional District, and Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell--has led to the creation of a new hemp industry in Kentucky. In the last two years, innovative new products from hemp oil to hemp dogs have sprung up in the Bluegrass. This industry could very well serve as another means for farmers who need to diversify their offerings in a competitive market.

Rand sent a signal to the state and the nation in 2014 when he opened a campaign office in the West End of Louisville – an African-American (and heavily Democratic) section of Louisville. For years, Republicans ignored the West End and refused to campaign there. Though the Republican Party has much work left in convincing African-Americans that our conservative message would benefit their families and communities, Paul’s arguments about school choice and educational opportunity resonate against Democrats clinging to teachers’ unions. Rand supports African-American kids obtaining a better education; Kentucky Democrats dance to the whistles of union bosses who mindlessly rail against charter schools.

Rand has diversified the Republican Party on a number of issues. His outspokenness on criminal justice reform and privacy rights has captivated a new generation of conservatives, sparking a debate on innovating the party’s policy plank. Though Republicans are often portrayed as an opposition party, Paul’s introduction of conservative reforms for these issues demonstrates he is a man of solutions for an America different from the one of thirty years ago.

Conservatives have come a long way since John Stuart Mill called us “the stupid party.” Paul has presented a pragmatic, rational, conservative vision to young people. Because of him, more young people seem to be engaged in a discussion of rights, responsibility, and liberty. Once at a town hall, I asked Senator Paul how young conservatives should defend our values against the intellectual left. He instructed conservatives in the audience to familiarize themselves with the works of Milton Friedman, Fredrick Hayek, and Von Mises. It seems to me he is helping connect a new generation to a coherent political theory – something that runs deeper than any surface-level ideology.

The same can be said of Rand Paul’s support in Kentucky: It runs deep into Kentucky’s soil, and the fall harvest looks bountiful after all the work he’s done the last six years.