US Representative David Price (D-NC) is running for re-election in the Fourth District. Congressman Price has served since 1987 with only one break in service, when the Republican “Revolution” of 1994 led by Newt Gingrich brought about a narrow defeat.
The 4th Congressional District is heavily Democratic with most of Durham and Orange Counties and only part of Western Wake County.
Congressman Price is a former Professor of Political Science and Public Policy at Duke University. He also previously served as Executive Director of the North Carolina Democratic Party. He and his wife live in Chapel Hill.
Price studied at Mars Hill College and was a Morehead Scholar at the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill.. He earned his B.A. in 1961 and continued his education at Yale University, where he received a Bachelor of Divinity degree (1964) and a Ph.D. in Political Science (1969).
He has constituency services offices in Durham, Chapel Hill, and Raleigh (on Trinity Road near the RBC Center).
As one of the senior Congressmen from North Carolina, Rep. Price has seniority in the House of Representatives, and he currently serves as Chairman of the Homeland Security Sub-committee of the House Appropriations Committee.
When asked in a phone interview how he got involved in this particular House committee, Price responded that he did not seek the role. Price was asked to take the leadership role by the House Leadership.
Price said that most of the time in Congress, you work on things based on your expertise and your district’s needs. However, in this case he devotes a great deal of time to Homeland Security. “This is something Congress needs to oversee. It is the biggest change [in national security], since the Pentagon was created in World War II.”
When asked if the Obama Administration has brought changes in this area, Price said, “Yes, things have changed. Things are approached much more judiciously than before. We’re trying to focus immigration enforcement on the true criminals and the most dangerous people.”
Price is concerned that immigration is being used as a “wedge issue” by the Republican Nominee and Tea Party backed opponent, B. J. Lawson. He feels that Lawson is using theatrical tactics and not addressing the real problems involved in enforcement.
“The vast majority of immigrants are working and paying taxes, but we must bring the legal system into sync with the reality of the present,” according to Price.
The Congressman also pointed out that the Federal Government under President Obama has hired over 20,000 Border Patrol Officers. “I am not going to take a backseat to anybody about enforcement,” Price stated emphatically.
He pointed out that despite the attention the media gave to the Arizona law and the Arizona Governor, the law enforcement community as a whole in Arizona knew that the law passed there was not enforceable.
On another issue, as President Obama has made quite evident in the past week with his speeches in Ohio and elsewhere, Democrats are making job creation and economic recovery the number one issue for the November 2nd Election. Congressman Price spoke to this issue in the phone interview in August.
He says there is a “three-legged stool,” all parts of which have to be in place together:
1) stimulus dollars
2) regulatory framework and reform
3) achieving Fiscal Balance
He pointed out that while the Republicans complain now about the growing deficit, a Republican Congress passed the expansion of Medicare to include Part D, Prescription Drug Coverage without funding it. They started two wars under President George W. Bush without paying for them.
He also pointed to the cost of the Bush Tax Cuts, which cost the Treasury over $2 Trillion.
Asked if he felt the Bush Tax Cuts should be left in place, Price said “My own preference is to leave the tax cuts in place for a while–except for taxpayers with incomes over $250,000. We have to leave them in place for those who most need them. We should let the high income earners’ tax rates return to 1990s levels.”
Price also thinks the estate tax needs to be “fixed,” but he doubts this will be done soon.
On the issues of Campaign and Ethics Reform, Price has spearheaded a number of campaign and election reform efforts in Congress.
At the beginning of the 110th Congress, Price served on the House Ethics Task Force, which passed sweeping ethics reforms, establishing an independent Office of Congressional Ethics to hold members accountable for misconduct. Price is currently the lead House sponsor of legislation to reform the presidential public financing system, and he has cosponsored a bill to permit public financing of congressional campaigns.
He was also a leader on the bipartisan “Stand By Every Ad Act” in the wake of the Supreme Court’s decision in Citizens United v. F.E.C. The decision empowered corporations, unions and associations to directly advocate for candidates. Price’s bill forces the CEO or President of these entities to appear in and claim responsibility for ads.
The bill also requires automated “robocalls” includes a disclosure of who paid for the call at the beginning of the recording. “Stand By Every Ad” follows his “Stand By Your Ad” Act, which requires candidates to appear in their television campaign ads and take responsibility for their content. “Stand By Your Ad” was included in the landmark 2002 Bipartisan Campaign Finance Reform Act.