The Honorable Deborah D. Pryce

Collection of the U.S. House of Representatives
“I never found it unwelcoming. I found it intimidating. But I never felt anyone intentionally intimidated me. I felt that there was a lot of cluelessness about gender issues—a lot of it. And it never would have changed but for the fact that more women became elected and women that would help the guys understand that our world isn’t just white men.”
—Deborah D. Pryce, August 9, 2018

Abstract & Transcript

U.S. Representative from Ohio (January 3, 1993-January 3, 2009)

Growing up in northeast Ohio, Deborah D. Pryce worked in her family’s pharmacy. In her interview she describes how her mother—a pharmacist—and grandmother served as early role models in her life. Pryce opted not to follow in her parents’ professional footsteps but instead chose to study law. As a lawyer and later as a judge she found herself drawn to elective office. Pryce explains how the resistance she faced when being considered as a candidate for probate court judge in Ohio, fueled her desire to ultimately seek and win the seat. She also discusses the challenges she faced on the campaign trail after she received her party’s endorsement to run for an open House seat. Elected in 1992 during the “Year of the Woman” as one of three Republican freshman women in the 103rd Congress (1993–1995) Pryce talks about the factors that led to the spike in women seeking office.

From the beginning of her House tenure, Pryce gravitated toward the leadership in the Republican Party. With her election as Republican freshman-class president followed by a position on the influential Committee on Committees (now the Steering Committee), the panel responsible for making Republican committee assignments, Pryce shares her thoughts on how these early leadership roles, as well as her time as deputy whip, provided a unique opportunity to build relationships with her Republican colleagues. Her ability to work closely with a diverse group of people helped her advance in the Republican Conference. After serving as secretary and vice chair, Pryce was elected chair of the Republican Conference for the 108th and 109th Congresses (2003–2007). She talks about how she made history as the first woman to lead the Republican Conference and discusses her leadership style. In her interview Pryce also details her work to recruit Republican women to run for Congress, the rigors of balancing a House career while raising children, and the importance of her time on the Rules and Financial Services committees.

Biography

PRYCE, Deborah D., a Representative from Ohio; born in Warren, Trumbull County, Ohio, July 29, 1951; graduated from Champion High School, Warren, Ohio, 1969; B.A., Ohio State University, Columbus, Ohio, 1973; J.D., Capital University, Columbus, Ohio, 1976; lawyer; administrative law judge, Ohio state department of insurance, 1976–1978; first assistant city prosecutor, senior assistant city attorney, Columbus City Attorney's Office, Ohio, 1978-1985; judge, Franklin County, Ohio, Municipal Court, 1986–1992; elected as a Republican to the One Hundred Third and to the seven succeeding Congresses (January 3, 1993–January 3, 2009); was not a candidate for reelection to the One Hundred Eleventh Congress in 2008; House Republican Conference Chair (One Hundred Eighth Congress through One Hundred Ninth Congress).

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Video

Coming of Age

The Honorable Deborah D. Pryce remembers coming of age during the 1960s and becoming more aware of politics during the Watergate era.

The Honorable Deborah D. Pryce, U.S. Representative of Ohio
Interview recorded August 9, 2018 Deed of Gift
Transcript (PDF)

Early Inspiration

The Honorable Deborah D. Pryce recalls some of the women who inspired her when she was young.

The Honorable Deborah D. Pryce, U.S. Representative of Ohio
Interview recorded August 9, 2018 Deed of Gift
Transcript (PDF)

"And That Got My Blood Boiling"

The Honorable Deborah D. Pryce recalls how she found inspiration to run for public office when she faced resistance to the idea of her candidacy.

The Honorable Deborah D. Pryce, U.S. Representative of Ohio
Interview recorded August 9, 2018 Deed of Gift
Transcript (PDF)

Legal Background

The Honorable Deborah D. Pryce explains how her background as a lawyer and a judge helped her as a Member of Congress.

The Honorable Deborah D. Pryce, U.S. Representative of Ohio
Interview recorded August 9, 2018 Deed of Gift
Transcript (PDF)

Intimidating Enviornment

The Honorable Deborah D. Pryce describes how the House evolved from an intimidating environment for women Members upon her election to a place that tried to include and help women advance.

The Honorable Deborah D. Pryce, U.S. Representative of Ohio
Interview recorded August 9, 2018 Deed of Gift
Transcript (PDF)

Learning the Ropes

The Honorable Deborah D. Pryce remembers learning how to find her way on the campaign trail.

The Honorable Deborah D. Pryce, U.S. Representative of Ohio
Interview recorded August 9, 2018 Deed of Gift
Transcript (PDF)

Impact of Being a Mother in Congress

The Honorable Deborah D. Pryce talks about how being a mother influenced her role as a legislator.

The Honorable Deborah D. Pryce, U.S. Representative of Ohio
Interview recorded August 9, 2018 Deed of Gift
Transcript (PDF)

"Just the Two of Us"

The Honorable Deborah D. Pryce discusses how she cared for her young daughter while also serving as a Member of Congress.

The Honorable Deborah D. Pryce, U.S. Representative of Ohio
Interview recorded August 9, 2018 Deed of Gift
Transcript (PDF)

Invisible Work

The Honorable Deborah D. Pryce discusses the importance of women stretching beyond behind-the-scenes work in politics.

The Honorable Deborah D. Pryce, U.S. Representative of Ohio
Interview recorded August 9, 2018 Deed of Gift
Transcript (PDF)

Social Life on Capitol Hill

The Honorable Deborah D. Pryce recalls how women Members worked to create a social life and support network on Capitol Hill.

The Honorable Deborah D. Pryce, U.S. Representative of Ohio
Interview recorded August 9, 2018 Deed of Gift
Transcript (PDF)

Women Members and their Wardrobe

The Honorable Deborah D. Pryce observes how women in politics often faced scrutiny for their wardrobe.

The Honorable Deborah D. Pryce, U.S. Representative of Ohio
Interview recorded August 9, 2018 Deed of Gift
Transcript (PDF)

Women in Congress

The Honorable Deborah D. Pryce explains why women need to be in Congress.

The Honorable Deborah D. Pryce, U.S. Representative of Ohio
Interview recorded August 9, 2018 Deed of Gift
Transcript (PDF)

Women Working Together

The Honorable Deborah D. Pryce shares a story of how women Members worked together to accomplish their collective goals.

The Honorable Deborah D. Pryce, U.S. Representative of Ohio
Interview recorded August 9, 2018 Deed of Gift
Transcript (PDF)

"Don't Wait for the Call to Come"

The Honorable Deborah D. Pryce shares advice she would give women considering a run for Congress.

The Honorable Deborah D. Pryce, U.S. Representative of Ohio
Interview recorded August 9, 2018 Deed of Gift
Transcript (PDF)

Images & Artifacts

Congresswoman Pryce
<i>Congresswoman Pryce</i>/tiles/non-collection/o/oh_pryce_portrait.xml
Representative Deborah Pryce served eight terms in the U.S. House. She was elected chair of the Republican Conference for the 108th and 109th Congresses (2003-2007).
Collection of the U.S. House of Representatives
About this object
Dave Thomas and the Adoption Tax Credit
<i>Dave Thomas and the Adoption Tax Credit</i>/tiles/non-collection/o/oh_pryce_dthomas.xml
In January 1995, Congresswoman Pryce and Dave Thomas, founder of the Wendy’s restaurant chain and the Dave Thomas Foundation for Adoption, attended a House Ways and Means Committee hearing. Dave Thomas testified in favor of an adoption tax credit.
Image courtesy of the U.S. House of Representatives Photography Office
Visiting Constituent
<i>Visiting Constituent</i>/tiles/non-collection/o/oh_pryce_boyscout.xml
Congresswoman Pryce met with a boy scout in 1993.
Image courtesy of the U.S. House of Representatives Photography Office
Congressional Meeting
<i>Congressional Meeting</i>/tiles/non-collection/o/oh_pryce_hearing.xml
In March 1995, Representative Pryce testified before several committees to advocate for appropriations that would benefit her district.
Image courtesy of the U.S. House of Representatives Photography Office
Voting for Term Limits
<i>Voting for Term Limits</i>/tiles/non-collection/o/oh_pryce_termlimits.xml
Representative Pryce signed her name in favor of term limits in 1995.
Image courtesy of the U.S. House of Representatives Photography Office