Since 1997, David Price has served in the U.S. House of Representatives for North Carolina’s 4th District, which currently includes areas of Raleigh, Cary and Chapel Hill. Prior to working in Congress, Price was a professor of political science and public policy at Duke University. Currently, Price serves on several congressional committees. He is the chairman of the Transportation, Housing and Urban Development Appropriations Subcommittee.
For the Nov. 3 election, Price is the incumbent and is running against the Republican candidate, Robert Thomas. Technician sat down with Price to discuss his platform and views on other relevant issues affecting our community today.
Impacts of COVID-19
The COVID-19 pandemic has affected the entire nation, and the 4th District has been no exception, Price said. In an effort to aid citizens during the pandemic, Congress has produced successive relief bills, which Price had a hand in creating.
As a member of the housing and transportation subcommittee, Price has assisted in developing various bills to provide economic relief for the negative effects of the virus on businesses. These include the Coronavirus Economic Relief for Transportation Services Act, the Legal Assistance to Prevent Evictions Act of 2020 and the Coronavirus Community Relief Act.
The Transportation Services Act provides grants and other forms of emergency funds to transportation services that suffered money loss due to the pandemic, and the Prevent Evictions Act creates a grant program that will provide free legal assistance to citizens facing eviction due to the hardships of the pandemic.
Additionally, the Coronavirus Community Relief Act provides $250 billion in relief for areas heavily impacted by COVID-19, like local governments with a population of 500,000 or less.
According to Price, the only way for the United States to stage an economic comeback is to crush the virus and get it under control.
Price also cites the lackluster national response to the devastating effects of the virus as the primary problem in the decision to reopen campuses for the fall semester.
“It’s very, very hard to reopen our states and reopen our campuses when there still isn’t a national program in place for testing and tracing and for getting the critical equipment where it needs to go,” Price said.
Student loans and debt
Price highlighted the importance of addressing long-term needs and financial support for students pursuing higher education.
Price supports Pell Grants, a grant given to students who have exceptional financial need, and advocates for more reasonable student loan provisions to lower student debt straight out of college.
Along with scholarships, Price said he supports forbearance, or the delaying of payment, for student loans and rent during the pandemic. Some forbearance provisions have been put in place by Congress as a part of COVID-19 relief, such as through the CARES Act.
According to Price, the federal government needs to continue to improve the terms of student loans. He believes student loans should be deferred or forgiven under certain circumstances for those who go into public service, like teachers.
Diversity and minority communities
Price said promoting diversity, expanding outreach for minority communities and fostering a welcoming environment is vital in North Carolina.
He discussed ongoing police brutality against Black Americans and the growing racial tensions in the country that have led to hundreds of protests across the country.
“This, of course, applies to the all too evident structural racism that’s built into our communities, institutions and practices, and this is made very clear from these police killings that have continued to haunt us,” Price said.
Price also pointed out the disproportionate effect of the pandemic on minority communities.
“The impact has not been equal,” Price said. “It’s particularly been hard on the minority communities. We need to be sensitive to that and deal with it and, of course, make certain that educational opportunity, housing opportunity, other things are robust and are available and are fairly administered.”
Price discussed his work on the housing and transportation subcommittee as an effort to change discriminatory housing programs. He said the housing policy in the United States has often been an instrument of structural racism, not a cure.
He also said that it is important to recognize transgender individuals as a minority community in the broad context of diversity, opposing the Trump administration’s refusal to protect transgender individuals.
Price said he finds the Trump administration’s immigration policies “awful,” and hopes to “overhaul” the country’s immigration program.
Climate change and environmental issues
In order to promote environmental sustainability, Price said an important component is finding transportation methods more conducive to environmental protection.
Price added that his work on the housing and transportation subcommittee to promote biking and more sustainable travel has been in an effort to facilitate environmental change.
“Nationally, we have, you might say, a lot of repair work to do,” Price said. “We’ve been playing defense with the Trump administration when they do just absolutely atrocious things, like pulling us out of the Paris Climate Accord.”
Price emphasized the urgency of climate change and the global climate change response.
“There has to be a sense of urgency about this and kind of an all-hands-on-deck mentality, and with Trump, you actually get denial of it, and you get reversal of the progress we had already made,” Price said.
Citing NC State as an important research location, Price said, in the future, it is important to continue work with renewable energy.
Price is a vice chair on the House of Representatives Gun Violence Prevention Task Force.
He said he supports gun control policies, such as requiring comprehensive background checks when purchasing firearms, even at gun shows and in online transactions. Additionally, Price supports regulating the type of guns available for purchase, saying that assault weapons should be off the streets entirely.
In the past, Price said he has had some success in removing the effective ban on research on gun violence. In December 2019, Congress voted to dedicate funding to gun violence prevention research for the first time in over two decades.
Price said he supports the Affordable Care Act (ACA), which states insurance companies cannot charge more when individuals have preexisting conditions. The ACA is also meant to provide insurance coverage for low-income individuals and families who would otherwise not be able to afford insurance, along with other purposes.
“That needs to be safeguarded,” Price said. “That safeguard is in place, but it’s in jeopardy.”
Price also mentioned protecting the provision of the ACA that allows children to remain on their parents’ insurance plans until the age of 26.
The Trump administration has openly opposed the ACA and has attempted to overturn it in the past.
Also, Price said he supports the expansion of Medicaid, along with the ACA.
“I’ve been at this for a while, and I have, over the years, I hope, been adaptable,” Price said. “We’ve learned how to serve the district more fully, and, of course, we’ll continue to be open to that. But I do think my brand is pretty well-established as a representative who is available in the community.”
He said he will maintain his current positions in Congress, such as chairman of the Transportation, Housing and Urban Development Appropriations Subcommittee, if he wins the Nov. 3 election.
“We will continue to keep a close focus on the Triangle, on the local community,” Price said. “You know, a congressman has to do both things. You have to exert national leadership and take on policy roles, but you’re only one of 435 people doing that. In the local community, you’re the only one of those 435 who is the representative of the 4th District of North Carolina.”
Price is optimistic about his role in the local community of the 4th District and on the national scale if he wins the next election.
“I hope to continue what I believe is a positive record in the past and, of course, always be open to ways to improve,” Price said.