Treasurer candidate campaigns in area
By Lindell John Kay
Saturday, August 27, 2016
The Republican candidate for N.C. state treasurer was in the Twin Counties recently to attend a private fundraiser and talk shop.
“The issues we face are not about east or west, black or white, Republican or Democrat — they are about mathematics,” said Dale Folwell, a certified public accountant, four-term member of the N.C. House and former assistant secretary of commerce.
Incumbent Janet Cowell, a Democrat, is not seeking re-election to a third term. Democrat Dan Blue III, son of N.C. Sen. Dan Blue Jr., defeated Ron Elmer in the March 15 primary election. Folwell was the only Republican candidate to file.
Folwell — who attended a fundraiser at Jim Gardner's house Thursday — said he's running for state treasurer to attack problems, not people.
The treasurer is responsible for the state employee pension, which is worth $100 billion, five times the annual state budget. Folwell said eliminating even 2 percent waste, fraud and abuse would mean $2 billion in extra money for the state.
“No one wakes up thinking about these things because they're invisible,” Folwell said. “No one knows who the Treasurer is, but the next one is going to make a huge difference.”
In his first three weeks in office, Folwell plans to find out where the money is, who's being paid to manage it and how good that manager is.
Endorsed by several state employee associations, Folwell has a blue collar background as a mechanic and garbage man. He went on to earn a master's degree and enter public service.
“I made a living with my back, hands and feet,” Folwell said. “I think my background provides me a unique way to find solutions.”
While in the N.C. House, Folwell spent two years as Speaker Pro Tempore. He sponsored 29 major pieces of legislation enacted with bipartisan support with no vetoes.
While at the Employment Security Commission, Folwell took what many considered the most broke and broken unemployment system in the U.S. and turned it into a national leader in debt-repayment, quality and customer service, he said.
“We were able to pay off $2.7 billion in unemployment debt and build a $1 billion surplus in 30 months,” Folwell said.
Folwell was able to accomplish such a feat by listening to state employees.
“I've always believed that to be a great leader you must be a great listener,” Folwell said.
Folwell, who lives in Winston-Salem, has been married for 28 years and has three children.