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Four Price

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Four Price
Four Price.jpg
Texas House of Representatives, District 87
Incumbent
In office
2011 - Present
Term ends
January 13, 2015
Years in position 3
PartyRepublican
Compensation
Base salary$7,200/year
Per diem$150/day
Elections and appointments
Last electionNovember 6, 2012
First elected2010
Next generalNovember 4, 2014
Term limitsN/A
Education
Bachelor'sUniversity of Texas-Austin, 1990
J.D.St. Mary's University of Law, 1995
Personal
ProfessionLaw firm manager
Websites
Office website
Campaign website
CandidateVerification
Walter T. "Four" Price (born October 8, 1967, in Amarillo, Texas) is a Republican member of the Texas House of Representatives, representing District 87. He was first elected to the chamber in 2010.

Biography

Price earned a B.B.A. from the University of Texas-Austin in 1990 before attending St. Mary's University of Law for a J.D. which he completed, magna cum laude, in 1995.[1]

Price is a co-managing shareholder at Irwin, Merritt, Hogue, Price & Carthell, P.C. In the past, he worked for Mullin, Hoard & Brown LLP, Fulbright & Jaworski LLP, First National Bank of Amarillo as a senior vice president and general counsel, and the Honorable Mary Loud Robinson as a judicial law clerk and briefing attorney. He also worked as a commercial and corporate credit analyst.[1][2]

Committee assignments

2013-2014

At the beginning of the 2013 legislative session, Price served on the following committees:

Texas Committee Assignments, 2013
Appropriations
Licensing & Administrative Procedures
Transparency in State Agency Operations (Select)

2011-2012

During the 2011-2012 legislative session, Price served on the following Texas House of Representatives committees:

Issues

University of Texas investigations

See also: Wallace Hall impeachment trial

Seal of Texas.svg.png

University of Texas Investigations

Background
Wallace Hall impeachment trialPolitical favoritism in admissions to the University of TexasForgivable loans program at the University of Texas Law School House Select Committee on Transparency in State Agency Operations (TSAO)Joint Committee on Oversight of Higher Ed Governance, Excellence & Transparency

UT Regents
Wallace HallPaul FosterEugene PowellSteven HicksErnest AlisedaJeffery HildebrandBrenda PejovichAlex CranbergRobert Stillwell

Elected Officials
Rick PerryJoe StrausCharles PerryTrey FischerDan FlynnNaomi GonzalezEric JohnsonLyle LarsonCarol AlvaradoFour PriceJim PittsDan Branch

UT Individuals
Bill PowersLarry SagerBarry BurgdorfKevin HegartyFrancisco CigarroaCarol Longoria

After he was appointed in 2011, University of Texas Regent Wallace Hall began looking into what he believed to be clout scandals within the University of Texas system. Hall investigated the university's forgivable-loans program and admissions policies and preferential treatment to politically-connected individuals.[3] Hall, as an individual citizen, filed a large number of FOIA requests with the University system after his inquiries via his role as a Regent were rebuffed.[4] According to his accusers, Hall filed requests of more than 800,000 pages, which some Texas administrators called an unnecessary burden.[5][6] However, a letter from University chancellor Francisco Cigarroa in February 2014 said that Hall likely requested fewer than 100,000 pages.[7][8] In addition, Cigarroa wrote: "During testimony before the Select Committee, some early witnesses implied that the U.T. System has not protected the privacy rights of students, staff, and patients. This is simply not true."[9]

An effort was begun in June 2013 to try and impeach Hall from his position as Regent. Some legislators are justifying the impeachment under the grounds that Hall did not disclose several lawsuits that he was involved in when he originally completed his Regent background check. Hall updated Governor Rick Perry's office in April 2013 with the full list.[10][11] The lack of lawsuit disclosure by Hall is not unique -- more than 9,000 lawsuits were not disclosed by other appointed Texas officials.[12] No unelected official in Texas has ever been successfully impeached or removed from office.[13] Governor of Texas Rick Perry's spokesperson said the investigations send a "chilling message" to gubernatorial appointees.[14] He added that the investigation was "extraordinary political theater."[15] Texas state legislators have never previously tried to remove an appointed official. Only two elected officials in the history of Texas have ever been successfully impeached.[16]

Richard Legon, president of the Association of Governing Boards of Universities and Colleges, criticized the impeachment process in a November interview with the Austin American-Statesman. He called the impeachment process the "nuclear option" and said it could send a chilling signal to other members of higher education boards. Legon suggested that the board should have first been given the opportunity to address Hall's requests. "It’s fine for a board member to seek information through the appropriate path. The first layer of reining in an overly aggressive board member should be the board," he said.[17]

A January 2014 review by the law firm Hilder & Associates concluded that there was "no credible evidence of a violation of [the state government code] that would warrant a referral for criminal prosecution." The report concluded that Hall had a legitimate reason for having the documents in question. "In light of the fundamental role attorneys play, it would lead to an absurd result were it criminal for an official to provide student records to his or her attorney in the face of litigation, or anticipated litigation, involving these records," Philip Hilder wrote in the report. Hilder submitted the report to the legislative committee. The Board of Regents hired the firm to review whether Hall may have violated any federal privacy laws in his handling of student information. November 2013 testimony prompted committee-member Trey Fischer to request the inquiry. Committee member Dan Flynn said he was not surprised by the findings and was pleased the university counsel reached a conclusion.[18][19][20][21]

Committee on transparency activity

Price is one of the eight members of the Committee on Transparency in State Agency Operations, which is overseeing the investigation into a possible impeachment. The committee was formed in 2013, specifically existing to explore the possibility of impeaching Hall. The committee is holding hearings in late 2013 to hear testimony from individuals from the university system.[22]

In September 2013, Dan Flynn, co-chair of the select committee, said three basic questions would be asked during the process.[23]

  1. Did Hall fail to disclose material information on his application to be a regent?[24]
  2. Did he reveal information about students that violated their privacy?[24]
  3. Did he exceed his role as a regent in requesting massive amounts of information from UT-Austin?[24]
Request for personal computers

In November 2013, committee member Trey Martinez Fischer submitted a request indicating a desire to look at Hall's personal computers, iPads and smartphones as part of the investigation. "we must consider forensic examination of the personal or professional electronic communications of the regents in order to ensure compliance with the law," Fischer wrote in a letter to committee attorney Rusty Hardin.[25]

Subpoena of Hall

At a November 12, 2013 meeting, the committee issued a subpoena for Hall to appear on December 10. However, legislators quickly rescinded the subpoena, since no meeting was scheduled until December 18. Legislators also voted to issue subpoenas to University of Texas Chancellor Francisco Cigarroa and University of Texas, Austin President Bill Powers to appear at the December 18, 2013 meeting.[26][27][28][29] With no subpoena having yet been issued to Hall, his lawyers sent a letter to the committee asking for clarification. With Francisco Cigarroa and Bill Powers already subpoenaed, Hall's lawyer Allan Van Fleet requested that the committee respond regarding whether it would also subpoena Hall. He said that Hall's lawyers have told him not to appear before the committee without a subpoena. On December 5, 2013, Van Fleet sent a letter to the committee requesting that the co-chairs announce whether Hall would indeed be subpoenaed. Van Fleet's request asked for an answer by the end of the day. In response, committee attorney Rusty Hardin said "We're not going to adhere to his deadline. He doesn't get to pick the time and place." Van Fleet pointed out that providing two weeks' notice for testimony is the standard to allow individuals to prepare testimony. He added that the letter has "caused confusion about the committee's intentions."[30]

On December 10, 2013, the committee sent a letter to Hall asking that he testify -- but they did not issue a subpoena. The committee sent a one-page, two-paragraph letter that invited Hall to testify and provide a list of witnesses.[31] On December 16, 2013, Hall's attorney Allan Van Fleet said Hall would not testify at the December 18 committee hearing. Van Fleet wrote: "Regent Hall has volunteered a number of times in the past to share his views with legislative Committees about the challenges and opportunities faced by the UT System. Though these offers have never been accepted, he remains interested in sharing his views, in collaborating with all policy makers on initiatives that will benefit the UT System, and in working with the committees to improve the transparency and accountability practices that should guide all UT System activities."[32][33][34][35]

Hall was invited to testify but was not given a subpoena, which is often perceived to provide some legal protection to the witness. Other individuals -- such as Chancellor Francisco Cigarroa and University of Texas Austin President Bill Powers -- were given formal subpoenas. Legislators criticized Hall for not agreeing to testify, despite the differing set of circumstances given to Hall. "It’s very disappointing to me that he and his attorney do not understand or do not care to observes the rules and procedures of the Texas House of Representatives and have decided they are not going to appear to testify," said co-chair Dan Flynn. Committee member Charles Perry noted that while all individuals who testified were given an official subpoena, Hall himself was not granted one. In fact, it was more directly avoided by the committee, after it first sent him a subpoena only to withdraw it.[36] A subpoena would have insulated individuals from risk in violating FERPA.[37][38][39]

Empower Texans response

In December 2013, the nonprofit organization Empower Texans sent a mailer criticizing committee chair Carol Alvarado. The mailer stated that lawmakers improperly focused on Hall's behavior, rather than investigating the allegations of clout at the University of Texas, Austin. Alvarado called the mailer the action of "an outside group that’s trying to influence an investigation." Empower Texans president Michael Quinn Sullivan said the legislature was engaging in a "whitewashing" of potential university wrongdoings. "We're impeaching someone for asking questions," he said.[40][41]

Campaign themes

2014

Price's website highlights the following campaign themes:[42]

Faith

  • Excerpt:"My Christian faith guides and directly impacts my public policy decisions. To do otherwise would be inconsistent with my Christian faith. It is the source of my strength and comfort whether life’s circumstances are difficult or peaceful. - See more at: http://www.fourprice.org/fours-4-core-values#sthash.Hdj6gQGM.dpuf"

Marriage & Family

  • Excerpt:"I believe that marriage is not just a civil commitment, but also a sacred bond between a man and a woman. A marriage between a man and a woman who love, respect and support each other is most ideal to the nurturing of children into productive members of society. - See more at: http://www.fourprice.org/fours-4-core-values#sthash.Hdj6gQGM.dpuf"

Sanctity of Innocent Life

  • Excerpt:"I believe it is essential in a civilized society to protect the most vulnerable – persons who are frail due to age or disability and persons who are alive in the womb but not yet born. I am unabashedly pro-life and believe that life begins at conception. - See more at: http://www.fourprice.org/fours-4-core-values#sthash.Hdj6gQGM.dpuf"

Capitalism Equals Freedom

2012

Price's website highlighted the following campaign themes:[2] Border Security

  • Supports Texas acting independently to secure the border.

Education

  • Supports increased local control.
  • Opposes any voucher system that diminishes funding otherwise available for public schools.
  • Supports strengthening the community college system for those who do not want to pursue a four-year degree.

Fiscal conservative

  • Opposes raising taxes to balance the budget.

Gun rights'

  • Supports strong 2nd Amendment rights.

Natural resources

  • Supports local groundwater conservation districts over state-wide legislation.
  • Supports a strong oil and gas industry.
  • Opposes cap-and-trade laws.

Private property rights

  • Supports private property rights, including in the context of eminent domain and water policy.

Pro-business/pro-agriculture

  • Supports low taxes.
  • Supports predictable regulation.

Pro-family/pro-life

  • Opposes gay marriage.
  • Pro-life.
  • Opposes euthanasia.
  • Opposes the embryonic stem cell research.

Voter identification

  • Supports a sound voter identification program.

Elections

2014

See also: Texas House of Representatives elections, 2014

Elections for the office of Texas House of Representatives will consist of a primary election on March 4, 2014, and a general election on November 4, 2014. The signature-filing deadline for candidates wishing to run in this election was December 9, 2013. Incumbent Four Price was unopposed in the Republican primary, and Abel Bosquez was unopposed in the Democratic primary. Bosquez will face Price in the general election.[43][44][45]

2012

See also: Texas House of Representatives elections, 2012

Price won re-election in the 2012 election for Texas House of Representatives, District 87. Price was unopposed in the May 29 primary and defeated Abel Bosquez (D) in the general election which took place on November 6, 2012.[46][47]

Texas House of Representatives, District 87, General Election, 2012
Party Candidate Vote % Votes
     Republican Green check mark transparent.pngFour Price Incumbent 77.3% 32,564
     Democratic Abel Bosquez 22.7% 9,567
Total Votes 42,131

2010

See also: Texas House of Representatives elections, 2010

Price won election to Texas House of Representatives District 87 in 2010. He defeated Victor Leal in the March 2 Republican primary. He then defeated Democratic candidate Abel Bosquez and Libertarian James Hudspeth in the November 2 general election.[48]

Texas House of Representatives, District 87
2010 General election results
Candidates Votes Percent


Green check mark transparent.png Four Price (R) 16,979 77.32%
Abel Bosquez (D) 4,148 18.89%
James Hudspeth (L) 830 3.78%

Campaign donors

Comprehensive donor information for Price is available dating back to 2010. Based on available campaign finance records, Price raised a total of $863,849 during that time period. This information was last updated on August 14, 2013.[49]

Four Price's Campaign Contribution History
Year Office Result Contributions
2012 Texas State House, District 87 Won $333,382
2010 Texas State House, District 87 Won $530,467
Grand Total Raised $863,849

2012

Price won re-election to the Texas House of Representatives in 2012. During that election cycle, Price raised a total of $333,382.

2010

Price won election to the Texas House of Representatives in 2010. During that election cycle, Price raised a total of $530,467.

Endorsements

2012

In 2012, Price’s endorsements included the following:[2]

  • Texas and Southwestern Cattle Raisers Association.
  • Texas Farm Bureau AgFund.
  • Texas Alliance for Life PAC.
  • Texas association of Business (Business & Commerce PAC).
  • National Federation of Independent Business/Texas SAFE Trust.
  • Texas Association of Realtors.
  • HOSPAC (Texas Hospital Association).
  • TEXPAC (Texas Medical Association).

Scorecards

Empower Texans Fiscal Responsibility Index

Empower Texans produces the Fiscal Responsibility Index as "a measurement of how lawmakers perform on size and role of government issues." The index uses "exemplar votes on core budget and free enterprise issues that demonstrate legislators' governing philosophy."[50] Legislators were graded along a 0 through 100 scale in 2013 and on an A through F grading scale in 2011.

2013

Prince received a score of 41.6 in the 2013 Fiscal Responsibility Index, compared to the grade of C that Prince received for the 2011 Fiscal Responsibility Index.

2011

Four Price received a grade of C on the 2011 Fiscal Responsibility Index.

Personal

Price and his wife, Karen, have four children, Curry, Abby, Cody, and Brooke. Price is a fourth generation Texan.[2]

Community service and involvement

Price served as the director of the Amarillo Economic Development Corporation, the Cal Farley's Boys Ranch Foundation, and the Don and Sybil Harrington Cancer Center. He is the President of the Amarillo Area Bar Association. He is a former deacon of the First Presbyterian Church of Armarillo and a member of the University of Texas Ex-Student Association, the National Rifle Association of America, and the Texas State Rifle Association.[2]

Controversies

Water rights sale

In February 2010, Price was questioned on any connection with the sale of local groundwater rights, by sellers with the same surname, to T. Boone Pickens for exportation.[51]

Price has denied any connection, saying that he doesn't have any dealing with Pickens on issues dealing with water, and that he understands how important local water resources are and will work hard to protect them.

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References

  1. 1.0 1.1 IMHP&C, P.C
  2. 2.0 2.1 2.2 2.3 2.4 Four Price campaign site
  3. American Spectator, "Transparency for Thee," October 25, 2013
  4. Daily Texas Online, "Facing impeachment, Regent Wallace Hall defends actions in debate with Sen. Kirk Watson," September 28, 2013
  5. Daily Texas Online, "Former UT System vice chancellor alleges Regent Wallace Hall’s ‘clear intent to get rid of Bill Powers’," October 24, 2013
  6. Dallas Morning News, "UT regent sought 800,000 documents, official says in impeachment hearing," October 22, 2013
  7. Watchdog, "‘Witch hunt’ fallout: Speaker calls for narrower public records law," February 5, 2014
  8. Texas Tribune, "UT System Responds to Transparency Committee Directives," February 3, 2014
  9. Texas Tribune, "Cigarroa letter to the Committee on Transparency in State Agency Operations," February 1, 2014
  10. Texas Tribune, "UT Regent Wallace Hall Updates Lawsuit Disclosures," April 30, 2013
  11. Real Clear Policy, "The Campaign Against Wallace Hall," August 15, 2013
  12. Watchdog.org, "Case against UT regent Wallace Hall is a sham — here’s proof," September 6, 2013
  13. News-Journal, "University of Texas regent not worried by impeachment inquiry," September 9, 2013
  14. Texas Tribune, "Transparency Committee to Mull Impeachment of UT Regent," June 25, 2013
  15. Texas Tribune, "Perry Blasts Impeachment Probe of Wallace Hall," October 30, 2013
  16. Texas Public Radio, "UT Regent Wallace Hall Will Testify In Impeachment Hearing," November 13, 2013
  17. Austin American Statesman, "A UT regent impeachment could make other boards cautious, expert says," November 29, 2013
  18. Dallas Morning News, "UT Regent Hall didn't commit crime, university attorney concludes,"January 16, 2014
  19. Watchdog, "UT Report: Charge against Hall is legally 'absurd'" January 14, 2014
  20. Texas Tribune, "Report: Regent Didn't Violate Student Privacy Laws," January 15, 2014
  21. Texas Tribune Uploads, "Hilder & Associates Report," January 13, 2014
  22. Texas State House Committees, "Transparency in State Agency Operations Committee Members," accessed October 31, 2013
  23. Texas Monthly, "Regent Wallace Hall is Another Step Closer to Impeachment," September 17, 2013
  24. 24.0 24.1 24.2 Austin American Statesman, "Transparency panel begins investigation of UT regent with closed-door session," September 16, 2013
  25. Texas Tribune, "Lawmaker Eyes Access to UT Regents' Computers," November 4, 2013
  26. San Francisco Chronicle, "Texas House subpoenas Hall, but then recalls it," November 12, 2013
  27. Texas Tribune, "UT System Lawyer: Hall May Have Shared Private Info," November 12, 2013
  28. Austin American Statesman, "UT Regent Wallace Hall might have broken privacy laws, panel members suggest," November 12, 2013
  29. Texas Tribune, "Committee Recalls Subpoena for UT Regent Hall," November 12, 2013
  30. Texas Tribune, "Ahead of Hearings, UT Regent Hall Requests Subpoena," December 5, 2013
  31. Texas Tribune, "Committee Letter to Hall," December 10, 2013
  32. My San Antonio, "Letter to Committee," December 16, 2013
  33. The Republic, "Embattled UT Regent Wallace Hall won't testify to lawmakers considering possible impeachment," December 17, 2013
  34. Your Houston News, "UT regent facing possible ouster won’t testify," December 17, 2013
  35. Texas Tribune, "UT Regent Hall Declines Invitation to Testify," December 17, 2013
  36. News Journal, "Lawmaker: Regent’s silence ’slap in face’" December 19, 2013
  37. Dallas Morning News, "UT regent Wallace Hall won’t attend impeachment investigation," December 17, 2013
  38. Texas Public Radio, "UT Regent Wallace Hall Declines to Speak with Lawmakers," December 16, 2013
  39. Watchdog, "Chancellor is probing favoritism in UT admissions," December 19, 2013
  40. Houston Chronicle, "Empower Texans mailer criticizes Hall impeachment panel," December 19, 2013
  41. My San Antonio, "Clout Mailer from Empower Texans," December 19, 2013
  42. fourprice.org, "Core Values," accessed February 13, 2014
  43. Texas Secretary of State, "2014 March Primary Election Candidate Filings by County", accessed March 4, 2014
  44. Texas Secretary of State, "2014 Democratic Party Primary Election," accessed April 9, 2014
  45. Texas Secretary of State, "2014 Republican Party Primary Election," accessed April 9, 2014
  46. Texas GOP list of candidates for 2012 Elections
  47. Texas Secretary of State, "1992 - Current Election History," accessed February 17, 2014
  48. Official Texas Election Results
  49. Follow the Money, "Price, Four," accessed August 14, 2013
  50. Empower Texans, "Fiscal Responsibility Index," accessed February 22, 2014
  51. ConnectAmarillo, "Did Four Price sell water rights to Pickens?" February 16, 2010
Political offices
Preceded by
David Swinford (R)
Texas House of Representatives District 87
2011-Present
Succeeded by
-