On January 18, 2016, we received a call from New York 22nd Congressional District Republican candidate Aaron Price. Mr. Price was responding to our previous request for comment (which we have extended to ALL candidates in the NY-22 race). In an exclusive phone interview we discussed why he is running, several social and policy issues, and the subject that Mr. Price has been best known for publicly.
Mr. Price noted that he is a first time candidate, motivated by his belief the nation is at a crossroads. Throughout the conversation Mr. Price emphasized a focus on economic policy centered on natural gas development and a reduction in the size of Government. Mr. Price strongly feels that the intrusion of Government into many aspects of daily life is a source of the decay of the nation.
Interestingly, in discussing international policy, Mr. Price did mention his support of the Obama Administration’s handling with regard to ISIS. He voiced a belief that the best approach to the Syrian civil war is a general hands-off policy with an ultimate intent to remove Syrian Prime Minister Bashar Assad. In terms of the Iran nuclear deal he was more vague, but stated a general dislike of the deal.
“Slowly but surely, the policy [Obama Administration ISIS strategy] has worked… It’s next to impossible to intervene in the Syrian civil war, until all the sides slug it out… the deal we’re on now will not disarm Iran. It will just be Iraq again.”
With a focus on domestic issues, Mr. Price often fell back on the issue he has previously been most publicly known for, Natural Gas and fracking. Mr. Price clarified his belief that US energy generation would allow for a decreased reliance on foreign oil (allowing for a reduction in importance in Middle East countries and potentially reducing the intensity of conflicts there) and improve the national debt. It is that $19 trillion debt that Mr. Price feels is of critical importance – noting that without improvement it would eventually lead to austerity programs like that being forced upon Greece.
“When you look around the world, when countries get in economic trouble, the first thing they do is get an austerity package.”
But Mr. Price also mentioned several controversial items in the phone interview. He highlighted his proposal (under development) intent in creating a new tax, a national sales tax, meant to be used solely to pay down the national debt. Mr. Price explained that this would not be a long-term tax, and thus would not affect job creation or growth, as the pain of this tax will motivate the public to call for an inflow of conservative fiscal policy.
“I really believe that if people had to suddenly pay extra to start paying off the debt they would immediately stop runaway Government spending… The best way to control spending is to make people pay for it out of their pocket. Because then I guarantee you conservatives will be able to get elected to Congress.”
In addition Mr. Price is in favor of creating a “Sovereign Wealth Fund.” He defined this as replacing the Social Security tax payments to the Government with an investment of the funds into a diversified stock market portfolio. When asked how to mitigate the market risk that would apply to the funds, Mr. Price explained that he felt that the security of Treasury bonds limited returns, and a balanced portfolio would mitigate losses even in the face of bear markets like the most recent loss of $1 trillion since the start of the year.
“Instead of buying Treasury bills, the old famous lock box, why not invest that money… By putting this pension money in the market we’ll get a much better return…”
The interview also touched upon the issue of the 2nd Amendment. Mr. Price stated his support, with a emphasis on self-defense. We were not able to delve deeper into that issue due to the time constraints of the call.
“More gun control is not the answer to crime. The problem in America is drugs which produces tons of criminal behavior and it’s also a problem of our culture. We increasingly have a culture that celebrates death rather than life… I believe it is a fundamental human right of all human beings to be able to defend themselves… As for the issue of gun control, we shouldn’t worry about gun control as much as we should worry about cultural control.”
One of the issues that we highlighted in our previous article, the question of secession of Upstate NY, also came up in the discussion. Mr. Price noted that he continues to support a split in New York State (with Upstate NY joining Pennsylvania) but that his run for congress is not an attempt to bring that issue to the public’s attention. He stated he is focused on addressing the needs of the public, with secession being a separate issue to be handled via Congress in the future.
“I still believe in secession 110%, but I’m not running for Congress to be the first secessionist in Congress since before the Civil War… I’m not using this as a publicity stunt.”
We were also able to address the Price campaign itself. Thus far the Federal Election Commission (FEC) threshold of $5,000 in campaign funds has not been reached. There was no timeframe given to us on when a campaign website would be available to the public. Mr. Price also does not have ground support across the 8 counties that, in part or whole, comprise the NY-22. Given these complications, Mr. Price expects to continue to have commercials on radio and a more public presentation shortly.
This brought up the question why Mr. Price has not address the public more directly on his candidacy. He noted that he believed that a new approach was needed for this campaign. He believes that the commercials were an initial phase of the campaign, and is now reaching out to the news media (and thus this exclusive first interview).
“When I look at how campaigns are run, I decided to do things a little differently… I thought the best way to do that is to reach out to the public first, through the medium of radio.”
At this point, surprisingly, Aaron Price has provided more information about his views and political positions than George Phillips. Mr. Phillips has declined for weeks to provide any of the news media any details about his congressional campaign. Democrat David Gordon has equally been as silent on his positions and public access as has been Mr. Phillips. Still, the frontrunner Assemblywoman Claudia Tenney, remains the only candidate that has a clear and public disclosure of policy positions – via campaign website, news interviews, and a voting record.
We again invite all the candidates for the New York 22nd Congressional District, of both parties, to have an interview via any medium they prefer (video, phone, email). We reiterate our dedication to provide the public with information on this race and the candidates, so that the public can make an informed decision on their choices.