Speaking at an event hosted by the Harris County Republican Party in Houston on Saturday, Paul – who grew up in Texas – warned that the GOP risks turning the Lone Star State into “a Democratic state within 10 years if you don’t change.”
“That doesn't mean we give up on what we believe in, but it means we have to be a more welcoming party,” Paul said, according to CNN. “We have to welcome people of all races. We need to welcome people of all classes -- business class, working class.”
One area where Republicans could embrace more welcoming policies was in the realm of immigration, Paul said.
“We won’t all agree on it," Paul said, according to Politico. "But I’ll tell you, what I will say and what I’ll continue to say, and it’s not an exact policy prescription ... but if you want to work and you want a job and you want to be part of America, we’ll find a place for you.”
Paul, who was elected to the U.S. Senate in 2010 in Kentucky, has been mentioned as a potential GOP presidential contender in 2016. He noted that his viewpoint is also shared by many in the Republican Party, including the Texas Republican Party chairman.
Right now Texas is the largest GOP bastion in the country, but it is nearly 40 percent Hispanic, a demographic that has traditionally supported Democrats.
During his speech, Paul noted the somewhat “tepid response” to his statements.
“Doesn’t mean I don’t believe in securing the border first, doesn’t mean I don’t believe it’s important we have a secure country,” he said. “But it does mean we have to have a different attitude.”
Paul’s father, Ron, was a long-serving U.S. congressman from Texas. He stepped down in 2012. His libertarian-leaning political positions often put him at odds with his own party, and the younger Paul has adopted many of his beliefs and characteristics.