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David Price to receive state’s highest civilian award for congressional service

U.S. Rep. David Price, D-N.C., seen here in 2019, says he won't run for reelection in 2022. Photo courtesy of Alex Wong/Getty Images/TNS.

Gov. Roy Cooper will present six recipients with the North Carolina Award, the state’s highest civilian honor, on Nov. 9 for their contributions to the state and nation. One of the recipients is familiar to Chapel Hill — David Price.

Price served as the U.S. representative for N.C.'s 4th congressional district for more than three decades. Though the district was reconfigured several times during his career, it has always included Chapel Hill and portions of Orange County.

Price, along with fellow former representative G.K. Butterfield and Charlotte Hornets Sports and Entertainment President and Vice Chairman Fred Whitfield, received the award for public service. Others received the award for their work in fine arts, literature and science.

“I don't think you can find too many people in the state of North Carolina who have served as valiantly and for as long a period of time and with such consistency as Congressman Price has,” U.S. Rep. Valerie Foushee (D-NC 4th), said. 

Price’s political involvement began in the 1960s. He said he initially worked on other politicians’ campaigns and was inspired to run for office after a series of Democratic electoral losses at both the state and federal levels in 1984.

“I was caught up in the civil rights movement and understood how much things needed to change in this country and also understood that politics and government were essential to achieving that change,” he said. 

During his career in Congress, Price focused on housing and transportation efforts — serving as chair of the House Appropriations Subcommittee on Transportation, Housing and Urban Development, and Related Agencies during the 116th and 117th Congresses. 

Later, he worked in foreign affairs, both initiating and chairing the House Democracy Partnership to work with countries with developing democratic institutions.

Price said that public service must be founded on an “underlying purpose” and community involvement, rather than just ambition.

He said that when he talks with students, he encourages them to find opportunities to serve their communities in order to learn more about them and their needs.

“I think ideally, public service, including elected office, comes out of that kind of community experience and community involvement,” he said.

Throughout his career, Price’s impact and inspiration have been felt at the local level by his constituents and local officials.

“Congressman Price, in the years that I've known him, has been the kind of legislator that I aspire to be,” Chapel Hill Town Council member Michael Parker said. “He's always knowledgeable; he's grounded in fact; he doesn't showboat; he is just, to me, the way I wish all of our legislators were these days.”

Foushee, Price’s successor, described him as a mentor and said that he was approachable.

She also said that she had know Price for a long time, living in Chapel Hill and working with his wife for the Town.

“I think a lot of it had to do with people who were in elected positions knowing that you could make a phone call to Congressman Price and share with him what the needs were,” Foushee said. 

As for why he received the North Carolina Award, Price said that he would “leave it to others to say that.”

“I'm very grateful for the award and feel like I'm in very good company, both the fellow honorees this year and those who have preceded me, many of them I know very well,” he said. “But I’ll leave the citation to the award committee.”

@DTHCityState |

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