Price Innovative in Serving L.A. Constituents
By Krista Rinehart, CSG Toll Fellows Program Director
Born and raised in Los Angeles, Calif., Sen. Curren Price is all too aware that life for the average Californian does not resemble the rosy picture painted in many Hollywood movies.
Price was motivated to enter public service by “a desire to help all citizens achieve a positive quality of life,” and continues to do all he can to help his constituents in today’s rocky economic climate.
As the largest state in the union, California’s economy is in many ways a microcosm of our national one. Price has been deeply involved in helping his constituents through the latest recession, both in the state capitol and up and down the streets of his old neighborhood. Just as the national picture is one of unpopular cuts and continuing budget constraints, California’s fiscal picture continues to trouble Price, who believes the state needs to do more to help its residents and businesses thrive.
“California has not dealt with its economic problems well,” said Price. “We are balancing the budget with cuts to health, education and social services programs at a time when the public needs them most. At the same time, we have not been effective in creating jobs.”
Aware of the difficulty his constituents are having finding and maintaining jobs, Price has gone out of his way to be a full-service public official—from adding a job posting section to his personal website to spending time visiting his district.
“I have tried to communicate more with my constituents,” said Price. “I have been hosting town halls on a regular basis that provide information and access to business and job opportunities. I keep the lines of communication open by conducting forums, coffee house chats and open houses that give my constituents the opportunity to talk to me and let me know what is going on in their communities.”
Price’s brand of personal politics stems from growing up during the Civil Rights movement at a time when personal sacrifice for the common good was prevalent. Growing up aware of the danger and civil unrest that can result from disparity instilled in Price a desire to make a difference. To that end, he readily identifies the Los Angles/Watts riots as the most profound experience of his life.
“Those riots highlighted the plight of those less fortunate and disenfranchised who could see no avenue in their lives to achieve the American dream,” said Price.
“I recognized the pressing societal issues and entered public service to try to help address them and to make a difference,” said Price. “I understood, recognized and appreciated the role that government had to play in providing resources necessary to improve the lives of its citizens. The riots occurred because government had been unequal in its treatment of its citizens.”
The life views and character established growing up in South Central L.A. continue to drive Price’s desire to improve the lives of those around him and to do his part to help government more equitably and efficiently serve the public. Price has gained a great deal of recognition because of his broad efforts to serve in Sacramento and in his district by providing a strong representative voice, and by creating and providing important community services like his online jobs database. He has received “Legislator of the Year” awards on more than one occasion and was selected as a CSG Toll Fellow in 2009 following his transition from the Assembly to the Senate.