From Educator to Congressman

David Price represents North Carolina’s Fourth District – a rapidly growing, research-and-education-focused district that includes parts of Alamance, Orange, Durham, Wake, Harnett, Chatham and Cumberland counties. He received his undergraduate degree at UNC-Chapel Hill and went on to Yale University to earn a Bachelor of Divinity as well as a Ph.D. in Political Science. Before he began serving in Congress in 1987, Price was a professor of Political Science and Public Policy at Duke University. He is the author of four books on Congress and the American political system.

Price currently serves on the House Appropriations Committee and serves as the Ranking Democrat on the Homeland Security Appropriations Subcommittee, which oversees funding for the Department of Homeland Security. He is a member of the Appropriations Subcommittees responsible for housing, transportation, military construction and veterans affairs appropriations. As the Ranking Member of the House Democracy Partnership and an outspoken advocate for Middle East peace, Price is also a recognized leader on foreign policy issues. In North Carolina, David’s constituents know him as a strong supporter of education, accessible health care, affordable housing, clean air and water, and improved transportation alternatives.

Personal Background

Born in 1940, Price grew up in the small town of Erwin in eastern Tennessee. His father was a high school principal, and his mother was an English teacher.

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).

Price and his wife Lisa were married in 1968 and settled in Chapel Hill in 1973. After staying home when her children were young, Lisa did social work and participated in many community activities, such as chairing the Chapel Hill Public Library board of trustees. She worked for two Chapel Hill mayors (Jonathan Howes and Ken Broun) before helping to found North Carolinians Against Gun Violence in 1993. She was its executive director until retiring in 2007. The Prices have two children and two grandchildren. Karen, is a documentary filmmaker based in Los Angeles, and Michael, teaches evolutionary psychology at Brunel University in London. He is married to the former Jade Gibson of Fredericksburg, VA; they are the parents of Charles Albert born in 2006, and Margaret Elizabeth, born in 2009.

Price is a member of Binkley Memorial Baptist Church, where he has taught Sunday School and chaired the official board.

Recognized Leadership

In addition to serving on the Appropriations Subcommittee on Homeland Security and the House Democracy Partnership, Rep. Price co-chairs the Democratic Budget Group, a weekly forum on fiscal priorities and other policy issues. Price also co-chairs the National Service Caucus, the Congressional Vision Caucus and the Congressional Humanities Caucus.

Price was named a “Champion of Science” by the Science Coalition, and the North Carolina National Guard awarded him the Charles Dick Medal of Merit. The North Carolina chapter of the Sierra Club has also recognized Price as their “Legislator of the Year.” He is a recipient of the American Political Science Association’s Hubert H. Humphrey Public Service Award, and also has been recognized by Voices for AmeriCorps, the NC Low-Income Housing Coalition, the NC Public Transportation Association, the Association of Community College Trustees, the National Association of Land-Grant Colleges and State Universities, and other organizations for his work in housing, education, and transportation policy. Price was honored at the 31st Annual Freedom Fund Banquet of the Durham NAACP in 2005, and he received the William Sloane Coffin Award from Yale Divinity School in 2006 for his contributions to peace and reconciliation.

Legislative Accomplishments

Education & Research – Price has been a leader in the fight to improve public education by bringing teachers of the highest caliber into the profession. The Higher Education Reauthorization Act of 2008 included a provision based on his legislation (the Teaching Fellows Act) establishing a Teacher Quality Partnership grant program to bolster development of a high-quality K-12 teaching workforce. Building on this success, Price is currently working to pass his Keeping Teachers Teaching Act, which would provide federal support for innovative state and local teacher retention programs.

Price also has worked to improve higher education and make it more affordable for working families. The National Science Foundation’s Advanced Technological Education program, established by a Price-authored bill in 1993, helps community colleges upgrade their training programs for jobs in high-tech fields. Price also sponsored the Price Education Affordability Act, enacted in 1997, which allows families to deduct the interest on student loans and make penalty-free IRA withdrawals for education. In addition, he has introduced legislation, the Roosevelt Scholars Act, to offer graduate-level scholarships for students who commit to a career in civil service.

Price understands the importance of federal investments in biomedical, environmental, and technology research to the Fourth District’s economic success. From his position on the Appropriations Committee, he supported the effort to double funding for the National Institutes of Health over five years and has pressed for a similar boost to the National Science Foundation.

Foreign Policy – Throughout his time in Congress, Price has been a strong advocate for U.S. leadership in negotiating a just and lasting peace in the Middle East and meeting global challenges such as HIV-AIDS and climate change. He founded and now serves as Ranking Member on the House Democracy Partnership (HDP), a bipartisan, 20-member commission that strengthens democracy by mentoring 14 partner legislatures throughout the world. Price has authored several bills to regulate the use of private security contractors in Iraq, Afghanistan and elsewhere. He was a forceful critic of the war in Iraq and has called for a responsible and realistic strategy to end the conflict in Afghanistan.

Homeland Security – As Ranking Member of the Homeland Security Appropriations Subcommittee, Price has worked to ensure that all the people responsible for protecting our country receive the funding and support they need to do their jobs, including first responders who would be at the forefront of responding to any terrorist attack or natural disaster. Read more at the subcommittee’s website.

Campaign and Ethics Reform – Price has spearheaded a number of campaign and election reform efforts in Congress. In the 111th Congress, Price introduced 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” include 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. 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.

Housing – Price is a strong advocate for affordable housing. As a member of the Transportation, Housing and Urban Development Appropriations Subcommittee, he has pushed successfully to increase funding for affordable housing and expand housing opportunities for senior citizens and people with disabilities. In recent years, he obtained funding for targeted community reinvestment projects in Fourth District communities, and has supported funding efforts for numerous other local initiatives. During his service on the House Banking Committee, Price initiated the 1988 Home Equity Loan Consumer Protection Act, requiring lenders to disclose the full terms of home equity loans to consumers.

Transportation – Price recognizes that traffic congestion poses a threat to the high quality of life in the Fourth District and that our infrastructure must keep pace with growth. As a member of the Subcommittee with funding responsibility for the Department of Transportation, Price has worked to boost transportation funding overall and to bring federal dollars to North Carolina to improve our roads and highways and to bolster public transit. He strongly advocates a multi-modal transportation system that includes viable rail transit options. Price has been an especially forceful advocate for inter-city high-speed rail funding. As a part of the American Recovery and Reinvestment Act, the Obama Administration invested $545 million in North Carolina’s Raleigh to Charlotte high-speed rail corridor. Price has also worked to improve the funding formula for transportation dollars so that North Carolina receives a better return from the Highway Trust Fund.

Environment –Price strongly supports efforts to protect the environment, promote wise stewardship of our natural resources, ensure clean air and water, and address climate change. He voted for the American Clean Energy and Security Act, which would establish a market-based incentive system to reduce carbon emissions and invest in clean energy solutions that would reduce our dependence on fossil fuels and foreign oil.

Price has teamed with other representatives working to advance legislation that preserve the scenic Blue Ridge Parkway for generations to come. He has also successfully passed legislation to modernize the system for tracking hazardous waste. In addition, Price continues working to maintain a safe and adequate drinking water supply for Fourth District residents. He was instrumental in compelling the Army Corps of Engineers to raise the Falls Lake dam level to ensure Raleigh’s future water supply and has helped secure grants for stream restoration and wastewater processing in North Carolina communities.

Price strongly believes that we should preserve and improve the quality of life in North Carolina communities through water supply improvements, and investments in conservation and environmental research that will help us tackle future challenges.