On Thursday, January 19, 2023, Polis: Center for Politics was delighted to host a reception for Congressman David Price, celebrating his return to Duke as a Polis Distinguished Fellow. Additionally, the former Congressman joins Duke University as an Emeritus Professor of Political Science and Public Policy Studies, rejoining the faculty of which he was a member prior to his election to the House of Representatives in 1987. Price served as representative for North Carolina’s 4th District from 1987-1995 and 1997-2023.
Duke University President Vincent E. Price, opened the evening. He commended Congressman Price’s propensity for connecting with students, expressing how excited Duke was to welcome the Congressman back.
Dean Judith Kelley of the Sanford School for Public Policy echoed President Price’s excitement for Congressman Price’s return. She entreated the Congressman to “set the tone for the next generation and give them some of [his] spirit.”
Joel Fleishman, founding director of the Institute of Policy Sciences and Public Affairs (which later became the Sanford School), celebrated the Congressman’s return as a “real coming-home for David.” Price was also a Political Science PhD student at Yale University, where Fleishman was on the Law School faculty. Fleishman spoke enthusiastically about Price’s passion for politics from a young age. Price was and continues to be “one of the most remarkable public servants of his constituents.” Fleishman underscored how responsive Price was to his constituents while in office, emphasizing that “this kind of client-voter service is not often found in people working in Washington these days.”
Fleishman then previewed the field experience that Congressman Price will offer as a member of Duke faculty. “He cares about government. He exemplifies government…Students can learn from somebody who has really been through the difficulties,” Fleishman stated.
Dr. Deondra Rose, Director of Polis, further extended this warm welcome toward the Congressman. She welcomed Congressman Price as a Polis Distinguished Fellow for the 2022-2023 academic year, to help students “think big about how [they] can promote democracy in [their] local, state, and national politics.” Polis is excited for the Congressman to contribute to “transformative conversations to replace polarization and division on our political landscape.”
Congressman Price rounded out the evening, expressing his enthusiasm to be back at Duke, “having the interactions around campus that [he] believes [the community] can have.” He highlighted his excitement for the work that Polis is doing. He relayed that he always believed the Sanford School needed an “institute within the institute,” like Polis, to connect the academic world with elected officials, journalists, and other members of the public.
Congressman Price closed by reflecting on his previous time as a member of the Sanford faculty. He advocated strongly for an ethics component of the public policy program, which he constructed in collaboration with Fleishman. He shared that Fleishman had frequently mentioned his desire for faculty to be involved in public affairs. “Maybe not run for office, or state chair of the party,” Price quipped, “but I took him [Fleishman] at his word.”
Polis is thrilled to welcome Congressman Price and thanks him for his continuous service for the betterment of democracy and the world.
Laurel Holley (’24) is majoring in Public Policy and International Comparative Studies with a focus on China & East Asia. She is a Polis Student Committee member.