Phillip Price (D)
11th District Candidate
Event: April 19, 6:30-8:00pm, Pack Library, Lord Auditorium
Background and Message
I’m the only one of the three Democrats running for office that’s both a 34 year resident of District 11, and a lifelong Democrat. I’ve lived in six counties in this District, and this is who I aspire to represent. I’ve been faithfully married to a Jackson County woman for over 21 years. Michelle and I have been raising our three kids with the help of the North Carolina School System and the Episcopal Church. We’ve been members here at Trinity Episcopal downtown for over 18 years. Michelle and I have been building a small business, a lumber recycling business, from the ground up, for over 18 years. With hard work, dedication to details, and honest relationships with our clients, vendors and subcontractors. And that business takes me across all 16 counties of this District. I know these hollers, I’ve fished these streams, I’ve hiked these mountains, and I have friends and family spread all across this District. I have roots all across this District. And that’s why I’ve been compelled to do this, because I’m a product of WNC. I’ve never run for office before. I’ve just been making a living and raising my family. In my 20s I was a musician, and I’m still a musician. I never finished college because my dad died when I was 20, in the middle of school, and I just couldn’t focus. So I went off and pursued my music dream. I’m a guitar player and songwriter. That was my 20s. When I was 30, I got married, bought my first house here in Asheville, had my first child, and grew up real fast.
Michelle and I have bought several houses here. I got my real estate license, and purchased some fixer upper houses. I fixed them up myself, and that’s how we got where we are now. That’s how we were able to start our business. I feel like I’ve lived several different lives, as a musician, a student, a real estate developer, as a father, husband, and small business man for over 30 years. Now that I’m in my 50s I feel like it’s time to give back to my community, to WNC.
After driving around these 16 counties, putting 20,000 miles on my truck and making so many friends. The first person I told when I decided to run for this office, the former Chairman of District 11, said, ‘You’re going to have to make a whole lot of friends’ And you do, you have to. That’s what this is about. To me job description of a Congressman is not being the smartest person in the room, not having the answers to all of the questions. To me a Congressman is the guy who can bring a coalition of people together, smart people, people who have common interests to solve the problems. I have that ability,I get along with folks, I have friends.
My platform is based on Healthcare, public education, protecting our environment, rebuilding our infrastructure, and getting broadband internet to everyone in WNC, so we have better jobs with bigger paychecks.
Phillip Price on the Issues
1- Preservation of American Democracy
Getting rid of Citizens United is the number one way to protect our Democracy. I support House Resolution 3537 which is the We the People Act, which my friend David Price, who I’m not related to, Congressman in NC District 4 , he’s the sponsor of that bill and it brings transparency to campaign finance. The money in politics is the root of most of our problems. It’s why we can’t get healthcare for all, why we can’t get gun control. There are some proposals of an amendment, but amendments take a long time, so Resolution 3537 would be a quick way to take care of that. It also makes the President and the Vice President produce their tax returns and put their investments in a blind trust. These things are very important for a democracy that represents all of us - We the People.
Russian attacks on the election, I believe that happened, we know that from all the intelligence agencies. And the President hasn’t asked his intelligence agencies to do anything about it. That’s ridiculous. We should be spending part of that 700 billion dollars of our defence budget on cyber security. Our power grids are vulnerable, nuclear systems, we have to shift part of our defence to that. And the silence of members of Congress concerning Russian meddling, it’s just ludicrous. They’re so dead set on getting these things that they’ve been dreaming about passed that they’re willing to have our democracy chipped away by this President, and they’re turning a blind eye. They want the Supreme Court appointments they’ve been dreaming about, they want to cut Social Security and Medicare. It makes no sense to give billionaires hundreds of millions of dollars in tax cuts. Then say, we’ve got to balance the budget, so we’re just going to take your Social Security and your Medicare. We know that doesn’t make any sense.
We need transparency from our government, or it’s not going to be a democracy any more.
2- The Environment
My wife and I have a wood recycling business, and my wife Michelle has a degree in Environmental Science and Engineering from Chapel Hill. We’re both very concerned about protecting our environment here in WNC. We know that we have some of the cleanest water in the world here. And water will become less and less available as the planet continues to warm.
We have species here that are only found here. We have more tree species along the Appalachian Trail than all of Europe. In Cherokee County we have the Red Fin Cyclefish, which is endangered. And it’s only found right there in that county. In Macon County, in the Blue Valley in the headwaters of the Chattooga River, in the splash zone, where the waterfall hits the rocks and spreads out over the land, there’s some species of flora and fauna that are found only right there. They haven’t been found anywhere else in the world. And Mark Meadows would like to reclassify that area in the Blue Valley so it can be logged. So his timber friends can come in and log it. We know what that’s going to do. It’s going to destroy that environment, that ecosystem. But they don’t care. It’s about quick money.
We’ve got to wean ourselves off of fossil fuel. North Carolina is 2nd in the country, in solar power. We’ve got over 34,000 jobs, good paying jobs in North Carolina in renewable energy. There are more jobs in this country in renewable energy than there are in fossil fuel. We can build on that. I’ll support the Off Act, which brings us to being completely off of fossil fuel by the year 2035, and 80% by 2028.
This is very much about the environment. We could invest in the manufacturing of items from industrial hemp in WNC. We could create a massive number of jobs. Things that are made from oil, like those plastic seats your sitting in, parts of the car, everything that’s plastic that’s made from oil, we can make from industrial hemp. And it’s biodegradable. We can make biodegradable plastic from hemp cellulose. What happens is, you can grow three full crops in one year. In one acre the same amount of fiber as 4 acres of trees. I’ve been studying hemp for 30 years. The only reason it’s illegal is because of how good it is. There are so many industrial, manufacturing, and medicinal things we can get from that plant. That’s why it’s illegal. Because the companies it competes with can’t reel it in. The steel industry, the oil industry, they lobbied against it in the 30’s. They made it seem like it was more dangerous and addictive than heroin. That’s why it’s a schedule one drug. It’s ridiculous. They’re afraid of it. Henry Ford made a car almost entirely made from hemp. You can look it up, Google ‘Henry Ford’s Hemp Car’ It’s ten times stronger than steel, and weighs less than steel. So you can imagine what the guys in the steel industry said. They were threatened. He fueled a car. from hemp seed oil, made from the seeds of hemp.
This is how I’m going to beat Mark Meadows. He won’t touch this. I’m not talking about recreational marijuana, I’m talking about healing our country. There are so many uses for it, and we’ve been told lies about. Just look at my website.
Back to the environment. So as it grows, it’s pulling carbon out of the air, then we manufacture things with it and encapsulate it. It’s also true that burning hemp fuel, doesn’t emit greenhouse gases. Which is amazing. It’s a wonder plant. It is legal in North Carolina, but there are so many regulations that it the cost is prohibitive for a small farmer.
3- Gun Violence
First of all, I’m a holder of a lifetime sportsman’s license. I’m a hunter, and a fisherman. I own a shotgun and a deer rifle. And I believe we can honor the 2nd Amendment and sensible gun regulations. Ninety percent of the country agrees with that. We need to have universal background checks, that includes things like domestic violence records, habitual animal cruelty records, records of violent mental illness. Bump stocks, anything that was made to fire a gun rapidly is made to kill as many people as possible, as fast as possible. I don’t think those should be in the hands of people on the streets. I don’t think that it should be easier to purchase and operate a weapon than it should be to purchase and operate an automobile. It doesn’t infringe on someone’s 2nd Amendment rights to have a background check, a waiting period, registration, and liability insurance. Put bigger taxes on bullets, so people can’t so easily amass and arsenal.
I’m definitely not about arming teachers. If more guns made us safer, like the NRA would suggest, we would be the safest country in the world, because we have more guns than anybody else does. So that’s just a fallacy.
I support the Dreamers 100%. We should make DACA a permanent thing. We’re all immigrants to some degree. This country was built and formed by immigrants. We don’t need a wall. We need to have strong border security. You build a wall and people will go over it, and under it. And you just wasted 40 billion dollars. We need to look at the budget and what’s needed for border security officers, surveillance, drones. We need to find a quick path to citizenship for immigrants. Forty percent or more of undocumented immigrants flew here on an airplane. And they’re visa overstays. They didn’t come across the southern border.
It’s just hatred. Hatred and bigotry that’s driving this current immigration attitude. Undocumented immigrants are paying taxes and Social Security. And they don't get those benefits. We aren’t having enough babies to support Social Security. If we just got rid of all the undocumented immigrants right now, Social Security would dwindle. Our economy would be shut down without immigrants.
Trump is a divider, he’s not a uniter, and he divides and conquers. By accusing one group of being a problem for another group. ‘It’s the Mexicans taking your jobs.’ It’s a lie. How do we combat that? Stop telling the lie. Start telling the truth.
5- Health Care
I’m a recipient of the ACA. Healthcare is the number one reason I decided to run for office. Because every time Mark Meadows comes on TV, especially last year, he tells us he’s going to repeal the ACA, with no replacement, no solution. He’s talking to me. And 45,000 other people in this District. I had to stand up. The solution is Medicare for all, Single Payer, House Resolution 676, which is the Conyers Bill seems to be the most sensible path to Medicare for all.
There are so many aspects of how our economy will be improved by moving to a single payer system. For instance, we remove the burden of providing healthcare from employers. When you take that off, first of all, they have a windfall. Right now about 20 percent of their bottom line is the cost of providing healthcare for employees. If we remove that, where the federal government is paying that through our taxes, then people like Walmart, who right now won’t give their employees a full 40 hour a week work week so they don’t have to pay for healthcare, then that removes that restriction. Right now people of having to find a 2nd or 3rd job, and we the taxpayers are subsidising their payroll to the tune of about $150 billion per year. Because with that 30 or so hours that Walmart allows them to work, they qualify for medicaid, food stamps, and housing assistance. Where’s that come from. From you and me, our taxes. So when we take that burden of healthcare off of businesses, then they can give their employees a full paycheck.
People work in jobs they don’t really like, but they may have pre-existing conditions, so they can’t leave the job because of the healthcare. They’re shackled to jobs they really don’t like. If you took that burden off, people could look for better jobs.
The cost right now for private health insurance, is much more than rise in taxes to pay for public health insurance. There’s over $3 trillion dollars Americans pay for healthcare, that’s going into the wrong pockets. It’s going to the CEOs of insurance companies that make $18 to $20 million a year. It’s going to the stockholders of Aetna and other private insurance companies. When health insurance became a for profit industry, it all went down hill. Healthcare should be a right, not a privilege.
There’s another aspect of how it’s going to help our economy. Me, as a small business, owner, and millions of other small and large business owner, I have to buy a Workman’s Comp policy to cover the guys that work on my site. Part of that premium I pay for Workman’s Comp is the healthcare part. When we have single payer, that’s gone. The amount I pay for Workman’s Comp is drastically reduced. That’s going to improve the economy tremendously.
Single payer is not socialized medicine. The doctors don’t work for the government.They’re still in private practice. The VA is socialized medicine. They all work for the government. Ask your doctor, they’re all for single payer Medicare for all.
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