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Rep. David Price addresses Democratic agenda in Raleigh town hall

David Price Election Night

Rep. David Price, D-NC, celebrates his re-election at the election night party at the Democratic Headquarters in Raleigh on Tuesday, Nov. 6, 2018. 

In a Raleigh town hall Monday, U.S. Rep. David Price, D-N.C., addressed questions from Triangle area residents surrounding the Democrats’ upcoming legislative agenda and recent headlines, including the New Zealand mosque shooting last week.

“I am so tired, I am scared, my kids are scared, my family is scared. I’ve never felt that way, congressman. Tell me, what can you do for us?” said Jihad Shawwa, a Raleigh resident and a Muslim.

Price said the rhetoric of leaders and citizens has become increasingly important in an intertwined world, and that Trump’s prior half-condemnation of white nationalism was unacceptable.

“We are all interconnected, for better or worse, and that means that hatred can spread instantaneously, as can love and support and the better angels of our nature,” he said. “There are ways we can act on those impulses as well, and we need to find within ourselves the reserves of empathy and a broad sense of hospitality.”

Price said H.R. 8 — a national bipartisan bill to require background checks for every private firearm transfer — is one of his priorities on Capitol Hill. He emphasized the need to be “loving critics” of the country, motivated by America’s shortcomings and to push the nation toward progress.

“I’m not saying we have not had nativist episodes, we have had shameful things in our history, but we have always aspired to better human justice for all,” he said. “And in successive generations, we’ve came closer to those ideals and then we’ve had setbacks.”

Price said he was stunned by the college admission scandal, in which parents committed various forms of financial fraud to boost their child’s admission prospects to highly-ranked universities, saying it was a “wake-up call” to the increasing pressure surrounding academic performance and school prestige.

“Not everybody has to go to elite schools — let’s just calm down — there’s many, many places where one can get a fine education and have a good, satisfying role in life,” he said.

Price said federal policy needs to pay greater attention to access programs to solve existing inequalities in higher education. He said there should be a focus on ensuring the Federal Pell Grant is sufficient for low-income students, and assisting students burdened by student loans.

Climate change was a focal point of discussion, as Price cosponsored a House Bill supporting the Green New Deal in February.

Price said his climate focus expands beyond just rhetoric, as he aims to reverse the Trump administration's environmental deregulation policies and impose a future carbon tax.

His other objective is promoting the nation’s use of renewable energy with financial incentives, particularly solar energy in North Carolina.

“We can be the center of the solar energy network,” he said. 

Residents also posed questions concerning another potential government shutdown in the future budget talks over border wall funding.

Price said while he remains supportive of investing in border security at ports of entry, he disapproves of Trump’s border wall proposal and fears a constitutional crisis if Trump decides to appropriate emergency funding toward the project.

“Let’s not just make some fetish out of a border wall,” he said. 

@ryan_smooth

city@dailytarheel.com

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