Environmental Factor, July 2011, National Institute of Environmental Health Sciences
Representative David Price holds town hall at NIEHS
By Eddy Ball
"There's nothing in the world that compares to the National Institutes of Health," Price told the audience. "It is a crown jewel in this country." (Photo courtesy of the U.S. House of Representatives)
Afterwards, Price, center, spoke with individual NIEHS employees. Facing the camera, left to right, are Perry Blackshear, M.D., D.Phil., Rick Woychik, Ph.D., Sheila Newton, Ph.D., and Bill Schrader, Ph.D. (Photo courtesy of Paul Jung)
Veteran Congressman David Price, D-N.C., was back in his district June 17 to address NIEHS employees and contractors at a community forum in Rodbell Auditorium. Price represents North Carolina's 4th district, which includes Research Triangle Park and NIEHS, as well as many communities where people who work at NIEHS make their homes and cast their votes.
The forum opened with an introduction by NIEHS Deputy Director Rick Woychik, Ph.D., who said of the guest, "He [Price] is an incredible intellectual and former academic," who earned an undergraduate degree at the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill and a Bachelors of Divinity, as well as a Ph.D. in political science, at Yale University.
After he entered the auditorium accompanied by NIEHS/NTP Director Linda Birnbaum, Ph.D., Price delivered brief opening remarks in a manner that reflected his ministerial sense of audience and rhythm, as well as his intellectual grasp of the finer points of politics and public policy. He then turned the stage over to his audience for their questions and comments.
Few of the participants veered very far away from the budget debates currently underway in both houses of Congress. Price heard concerns about economic stagnation, budget cuts, and their effects on conducting scientific research and recruiting the best minds for the tasks at hand.
Price explained that negotiating the path back to economic recovery will require a spirit of genuine compromise and readiness to sacrifice by everyone involved, to stimulate jobs and investment, as well as erase the deficit and reduce the national debt. "We've got to do two things," he maintained. "The first is to get the economy back to full strength. The second thing we have to do is chart a course to fiscal balance."