Paul's hatred for federal government regulation was blatant when he cast the sole "no" vote last week on a measure that would make it a federal crime to shine a handheld laser pointer into the cockpit of an aircraft in flight. The measure passed in the Senate 96 to 1, with three senators not present.
"Every time there is a social problem or a criminal problem or something, we heap on a new law," Paul said. "Laws are best done at the local level."
The freshman senator was a breakout candidate for the Tea Party movement after securing the Republican nomination last year, and then beating Democrat Jack Conway for the Kentucky senate seat.
The son of libertarian Rep. Ron Paul, R-Texas, Paul, 47, now shares a home with his equally controversial father on Capitol Hill.
Paul said he grew up worshipping his father, even when Ron Paul was mocked and praised for his iconoclastic ideals. Rand supported his dad through his 2008 presidential bid, when the elder Paul campaigned to cut big government, end wars and legalize marijuana. When Rand Paul decided to leave his ophthalmology practice to run for office, he said his father offered this advice:
"He said just be quiet and don't try to stir up any trouble," Rand Paul said, sarcastically.
"No controversial votes," his father chimed in. "We don't believe in that. We believe go along and get along."
Despite his successes, and now making a prominent name for himself, Paul acknowledged that his radical ideas of how government should be run created horrible backlash for him on the campaign trail.
"There were times when I would come home and my wife was crying about the things they were saying about me," he said. "We thought 'Is it worth it?' you know?"
One of the most memorable firestorms during the campaign was when Paul argued in an editorial meeting with the Louisville Courier Journal that by ordering restaurants to serve African-Americans, the Civil Rights Act gave too much power to government.
"I abhor racism and I think it's bad business to exclude anyone from your restaurant, but I do believe in private ownership," Paul said at the time.
But the lowest point of his campaign, Paul said, was when an anonymous former college classmate of his told GQ magazine that during a pot-fueled college escapade, Paul kidnapped her, tied her up and made her worship a pagan water god called "Aqua Buddha."
The woman later clarified that it wasn't kidnapping, but a harmless prank. All along, Paul has categorically denied the allegations.
"You know now we can look back and my wife and I can laugh at it a little bit," he said. "I am not a perfect person, but I barely even get speeding tickets."