Name as it appears on the ballot: David Price
Full legal name, if different: David Eugene Price
Date of birth: 8/17/1940
Campaign website: www.priceforcongress.com
Occupation & employer: Educator
1. What do you see as the most important issues facing North Carolina and the nation? If elected, what are your top three priorities in addressing those issues?
Returning to economic prosperity and expanded job opportunities is the most important issue we currently face.
In Congress, I supported measures such as the American Jobs Act to put teachers and first responders back to work right away by helping cash-strapped localities. Republicans opposed these temporary measures and then cut budgets even further. Their penny-wise and pound-foolish approach has forced communities to lay off public sector workers such as teachers, cops and firefighters, needlessly increasing the unemployment rate. In the near term, we should prioritize continuing counter-cyclical investments to create jobs and bring down the unemployment rate.
Beyond that, we must prioritize growing the economy from the middle class out through targeted investments in education, infrastructure and innovation.
By investing in education, we strengthen the path by which so many are able to achieve the American dream. During my time in Congress I've championed legislation to make interest on student loans tax-deductible and to make sure community colleges have the most innovative curricula and teaching methods possible. I've supported research initiatives at our universities, and I've defended public education from deep cuts that would put us on the road to privatization.
By investing in infrastructure, we put people back to work in the short term and ensure that we provide the foundation necessary for future generations to progress. Through my seat on the Appropriations Committee, I helped to secure $41.5 million for the construction of a new National Guard headquarters in Raleigh. The project created or sustained some 4,000 jobs, and the building is now home to a high-tech joint command center for the guard and the North Carolina Highway Patrol.
By investing in entrepreneurship, we ensure there are opportunities for private sector businesses to grow and thrive. We encourage business owners to make investments in their own work, discourage the outsourcing of jobs, and advance tax policy which rewards businesses that expand their workforce.
In North Carolina we know this approach has worked, and that's why I support President Obama's plan to invest in our future.
Finally, enacting a long-term plan to return to fiscal balance must be a priority for the next Congress. I believe that, as in the 1990s, any credible approach to returning to fiscal balance will include both fiscal restraint and revenue. We should spend federal dollars more wisely, targeting the investments that best equip our people to succeed. And, it's consistent with our priorities and values to ask Americans who can best afford it to return to their Clinton-era tax rates.
The vision put forward by Republicans in Congress, Governor Romney, and his running mate, Rep. Paul Ryan, calls for failed, top-down policies like tax giveaways for giant corporations and the very wealthy, removing consumer and environmental protections, and letting these interests play by their own rules. That's the vision that sank our economy in the first place, and we can't go back now.
2. What issue or issues made you want to run for this office?
My experience with the civil rights movement in Chapel Hill during the early 1960s helped shape my political and moral outlook, and it forever taught me that committed people applying pressure within our communities and political system could lead to significant progressive change. Later, I taught American politics, political theory, and ethics at Duke University. After taking on various political assignments, I decided to run for Congress myself in 1986.
My aim as a public servant has always been to ensure that government works in concert with the goals and needs of the people of the Fourth District. Faithful representation and effective leadership are rooted in a sense of common purpose, which includes promoting the values of equal opportunity and social justice. That's why education has always been my highest priority in Congress – from being a strong supporter of public schools to expanding access to higher education and investing in research and innovation.
3. What in your record as a public official or other experience demonstrates your ability to be effective in the U.S. House? This might include career or community service; be specific about its relevance to this office.
Representing the Fourth District means being a reliable partner in efforts to improve our region's quality of life. This has demanded the promotion of educational opportunities, community college training, good highways and transit, clean air and water, and innovative research.
I have fought on behalf of these efforts effectively in Congress. Improving public education and making higher education more accessible has been my top priority in Congress. My Price Education Affordability Act makes student loan interest tax-deductible. The Advanced Technical Education grant program — established by one of my bills — helps community colleges develop innovative curricula for job-training programs. The Teacher Quality Partnership grant program — also established by one of my bills — helps universities and localities provide enhanced training and career development for teachers. I've joined my colleagues in reforming the student loan system to cut out the middle-men and to lower rates, as well as increasing Pell Grants. As long as I am in Congress, I will keep fighting for this investment in our future.
As the ranking member of the Homeland Security Appropriations subcommittee, I have strengthened partnerships with our first responders so our communities are better prepared for disasters of all kinds. I was able to secure the $41.5 million for the new National Guard headquarters in Raleigh, described above, and I will be able to continue steering important investments to the region if I am re-elected. My proudest appropriations achievement remains the nine-year effort to build the new EPA lab in RTP.
I've also been an advocate of ensuring the integrity of our elections. In 2002, Congress passed my "Stand By Your Ad" Act, which requires candidates to appear in their ads and take responsibility for the content. In response to the Supreme Court's Citizens United decision, which allows anonymous special interest groups to spend unlimited amounts of money to influence our elections, I've introduced a "Stand By Every Ad" Act, which would require Super PACs to disclose their top five contributors in advertisements. After much work, in September I introduced what I hope will be a landmark bill, the Empowering Citizens Act (H.R. 6448), which would mend the presidential campaign public financing system, create a viable public financing system for congressional campaigns, and create clear anti-coordination restrictions for Super PACs and candidate campaigns. The ECA's public financing system would dramatically increase the importance and role of small donors in funding all federal elections – a critical step toward responding to the Supreme Court's disastrous Citizens United decision. Generating support for this bill and moving it through Congress, will be one of my chief priorities if re-elected because we simply must have a campaign system that empowers small donors – not moneyed interests.
I am also the ranking member of a bipartisan House commission that works with parliaments in developing democracies to strengthen their legislative capacities. Effective legislatures help ensure every citizen has a say in that country's future, improving long-term prospects for peace and stability in critical regions throughout the world.
4. As you've campaigned in NC-4, what are you hearing from voters? What's foremost on their minds?
Voters are concerned about whether we'll return to failed policies of more tax breaks for the wealthiest and a time when huge corporations played by their own rules, or whether we'll continue the work of expanding our economy from the middle class out. My constituents understand that investments in education, research, infrastructure, and housing lead to a strong economy. Our story in the Triangle is proof this model can be a success in other parts of the nation.
Many of my constituents are also concerned about the Republican Party's move to the right, as exemplified by the Tea Party. They are alarmed by the budget put forward by Rep. Paul Ryan — now Governor Romney's running mate — which would fundamentally alter the relationship between our people and our government by turning Medicare into a voucher program in order to cut taxes for the wealthiest Americans. Rep. Ryan's budget would also cut nearly a trillion dollars from education, infrastructure, and research, hobbling our greatest competitive advantages. I have opposed the Ryan budget at every turn because I believe it is out of step with our priorities and values. These concerns underscore the stark choice that voters have in this election.
5. Identify a principled stand you might be willing to take if elected that you suspect might cost you some popularity points with voters.
Illegal immigration has continued to stoke emotions and incite debate. I've always sought pragmatic solutions which address the issue fairly rather than unfeasible, blanket solutions or pandering to anti-immigrant sentiments. For example, I've pressed steadily through the Homeland Security appropriations process to rein in indiscriminate enforcement efforts and focus on immigrants with serious criminal records.
I am a longtime supporter of comprehensive immigration reform – we must bring our immigration policy in line with our labor market needs and the complex realities our communities face. There must be a way to secure our borders and hold employers accountable, and also help law-abiding immigrants begin the process of joining our communities by putting them on a path to legal status.
I also support the DREAM Act to allow immigrant schoolchildren to pursue higher education and become productive Americans if they've proven themselves to be hard-working, upstanding students or have served in honorably in our armed forces. We can't afford to shut the door to opportunity on those who had no choice in coming to our country. Earlier this year, I applauded the Obama Administration's "deferred action" approach to enforcement.
Opponents of immigration reform portray it as "amnesty" – but the fact is, requiring immigrants to pay a fine, pay back taxes, and go through the process of applying for legal status is a fair, common-sense approach to an extraordinarily complex problem. It is reprehensible to stoop to tactics that encourage anti-immigrant sentiment.
6. If these issues haven't been addressed above, would you please comment on:
a. What do you see as the primary sources of our current economic problems? What measures should Congress use to address them?
Eight years of top-down tax giveaways to the rich, undermining regulations, reducing environmental and consumer protections, and abandoning the pay-as-you-go rules of budgeting caused our economy to nearly collapse in 2008.
Actions to rescue the banks and our auto manufacturers, along with President Obama's 2009 recovery package, pulled us back from the brink of collapse and put us on the long road back to economic prosperity. I was proud to vote to put in place new rules for Wall Street, including a Consumer Financial Protection Bureau empowered to put an immediate end to exploitative financial schemes. And I was proud to vote for the Affordable Care Act because it's given new consumer protections to millions and made care more affordable for all Americans.
The rule or ruin approach, adopted by Congressional Republicans in the 112th Congress, has undermined the economic recovery and consumer confidence. The current Congress opened with a manufactured shutdown crisis and progressed to the manufactured debt ceiling crisis, when Congressional Republicans made clear they had no qualms putting the full faith and credit of the United States at risk to extract political concessions. At the time I told my colleagues that "we're the United States Congress, not the Tea Party's Congress, and it's time we started acting like it." Republicans have continued to oppose legislation to improve the economy, such as the American Jobs Act, and stonewalled legislation that contained measures they have supported in the past, such as targeted tax credits. This is the approach one would expect from a party whose leader said their first priority was not putting people back to work, but making President Obama a one-term President.
Many still feel the pain the near collapse of our economy caused, but despite outright obstruction from Congressional Republicans, we have also made significant progress. The recovery has created 4.5 million private sector jobs and 29 consecutive months of private sector job growth.
To continue our progress toward full economic recovery, we must continue immediate, targeted federal investments to boost employment, enact an investment strategy for our future, and chart a course to long-term fiscal balance.
b. Evaluate the war in Afghanistan and the situation in Iran. What is our goal in each place, in your view?
Preventing Iran from attaining a nuclear weapons capability is an important national security goal, and in recent months I have lead 70 of my colleagues in urging the Obama Administration to employ every tool at its disposal to dissuade (and prevent if necessary) the Iranian regime from developing nuclear weapons. A nuclear weapons-capable Iran poses a grave threat to the United States, to Israel, and to the global community. This engagement with the Obama Administration has sought to convey broad, bipartisan congressional support for vigorous diplomacy and coalition building with partner nations to pressure the Iranian regime.
The cost of the War in Afghanistan has been immense — in lives lost, in money spent and in investments in our people deferred. I supported the effort to drive al-Qaeda and the Taliban from Afghanistan in the wake of the September 11 attacks, but our military commitment to Afghanistan cannot be open-ended. I support President Obama's decision to bring our military operations in Afghanistan to an end by 2014. I trust President Obama to keep this promise, as he has kept his promise to end the war in Iraq, and I will help hold him accountable for it in Congress.
If re-elected, I will also continue the House Democracy Partnership's work with the Afghan parliament. Amid challenges, the Afghan parliament has made remarkable progress over the last six years. The country's ability to defend itself, respond to the needs of its people, and govern itself will depend heavily on the legitimacy and effectiveness of its representative institutions.
c. Would you support repeal of the Affordable Care Act? What reforms would you make to the health care system?
I have voted against repealing the Affordable Care Act time and again, and I will do so again if it comes back before the House. All Americans should have access to reliable coverage, and the ACA has expanded access to millions of Americans. Additionally, Americans can no longer be denied access because of pre-existing conditions, and millions of seniors are receiving better care and cheaper prescription drugs because of the ACA.
The ACA is a landmark achievement, but there's no question we have additional work to do. I have embraced constructive reforms to the ACA. Last year, I introduced a bill to expand access to cheaper federal high-risk insurance pools to people who have been in more expensive state high-risk insurance pools for six months or more. Currently, individuals are only able to enter federal high-risk pools if they have been without insurance for six months. Strengthening the ACA, not undermining it, will be my priority if re-elected.
7. What is your position on capital punishment?
I believe the death penalty should be an available punishment for the most heinous violent crimes, but I also believe those on death row should have every chance to prove their innocence. In 2004, I helped pass a law to ensure that death row inmates have access to post-conviction testing of DNA evidence that may exonerate them.
8. What is your position on Amendment One?
The discriminatory marriage amendment voted into law during the May primary denies marriage rights to same-sex couples and threatens their benefits packages (and those of non-married opposite sex couples). It also threatens important domestic violence protections and enshrines discrimination in our state Constitution. Although it is not an issue I could directly affect from my seat in Congress, I campaigned against it and would support any effort at the state level to reverse this misguided amendment.
9. Do you support women's reproductive rights, including the "right to choose" as set out by the U.S. Supreme Court in Roe v. Wade? Do you support the recently passed state requirements on ultrasounds and waiting periods for women seeking an abortion? Do you support attempts to eliminate funds for Planned Parenthood?
I support a woman's right to choose as established in the Roe v. Wade decision. Any legislation to restrict late-term abortion must provide exceptions for the health of the mother and ensure that the decision about which method to use is made by the patient and her doctor.
Recent state legislation requiring ultrasounds and waiting periods for women seeking abortions unfairly abridge these rights and insert government into important choices that should be between individuals and their doctors.
I also oppose attempts to eliminate funding for Planned Parenthood. This funding ensures women have access to life-saving health services and we must continue to protect it.
10. What changes, if any, do you support in federal entitlement programs (Social Security, Medicare, Medicaid, Veterans programs, etc.)
It is somewhat misleading to label such programs "entitlements" because they provide benefits earned over a lifetime of hard work or through service to our country. I believe every American has a right to a secure retirement and dignity in old age, and that when our veterans come home, we must honor the commitments we've made to them. Through my position on the Appropriations Committee, I have fought for robust funding for veterans programs. And I have supported additional funding where urgently needed, such as to develop treatments for post-traumatic stress disorder and to help veterans transition to civilian life. I will continue to be a strong voice for veterans if re-elected.
I have opposed Republican efforts to block-grant Medicaid and radically restructure Medicare by turning it into a voucher program — in both cases to pay for tax cuts for the wealthiest Americans. I have also opposed Republican efforts to privatize Social Security. In their current forms, these programs provide basic security in old age for tens of millions of Americans. I am deeply skeptical of Republicans' efforts to "fix" what's not broken.
There is no question there are long-term funding challenges for each of these programs, particularly Medicare, but I favor prudent, incremental changes rather than radical overhauls of successful programs. For example, the ACA eliminated excessive subsidies to private insurance providers, and it cut waste, fraud and abuse. These changes extended the solvency of Medicare by eight years, to 2024. Republicans would repeal the ACA, thus making Medicare insolvent by 2016.
11. Do you approve of efforts by the Bush and Obama administrations to bailout major banks? How about the Obama administration's bailout of U.S. automakers?
Both measures played an important role in pulling our economy from the brink at a time when a collapse seemed all but assured. Although imperfect, TARP and the auto rescue were the first steps on a long road to returning to economic prosperity. Today, we know that rescuing the auto industry was the right decision — there are one million more jobs in the United States today because the President and Congress acted to prevent the collapse of this important domestic industry.
12. Both parties have been criticized for overreaching during the redistricting process. Would you support an independent commission drawing the lines in the future?
The state legislative and congressional district maps produced by General Assembly Republicans are deeply unfair and designed for maximum party advantage. We must continue to seek a remedy through the courts. The Republican redistricting excesses far exceed anything in our state's history, and I am open to the independent commission idea as a way of insuring against such abuses.