Elect 2012: Candidate for lt. gov. wants to improve education
By Karissa Minn
SALISBURY — The Speaker Pro Tem of the N.C. House says he wants to bring a practical, “common-sense” approach to the office of lieutenant governor.
Rep. Dale Folwell, of Winston-Salem, stopped by the Salisbury Post on Monday to discuss his campaign. The Republican said he’s listening to people who think North Carolina is on the wrong track, and he wants to help right it.
“I have a clear track record of taking conservative and common-sense principles and fixing things in the areas of education, job creation, government efficiency, crime and family values,” Folwell said. “I want to focus on things that seem invisible but are going to have a huge impact.”
In North Carolina, the lieutenant governor presides over the Senate, and Folwell said his role as Speaker Pro Tem has prepared him for that responsibility.
The lieutenant governor also serves on the State Board of Education and the State Board of Community Colleges.
Folwell said the state should address student mobility in urban schools and encourage vocational education.
“The days of spraying and praying money on public education are over,” Folwell said. “The taxpayers don’t feel like they’re getting their money’s worth. The students, when you look at performance, obviously aren’t getting their money’s worth, either.”
In addition, he wants to make sure there is enough instructional time before the state’s Advanced Placement exams to let students score the highest possible grades.
“It’s the single largest thing we can do to reduce the tuition cost for parents,” Folwell said.
High school students can get college credit if they pass the AP tests, which are now given about a month before the school year ends.
Folwell said he also is focusing on the invisible cost of what he calls a “debt bomb.”
“The worker’s compensation system, the unemployment system, the state health plan and the state pension plan make up an enormous amount of debt in North Carolina,” he said.
Finally, Folwell said the lieutenant governor must “build a bridge between the legislative and executive branches,” and he has experience doing so.
“In seven years, I’ve passed 29 pieces of legislation as a conservative, with over 4,000 ‘yes’ votes and 200 ‘no’ votes, and no vetoes,” he said. “That’s with a Democratic governor, along with Republican and Democratic General Assemblies.”
Folwell faces Dan Forest, a Raleigh architect, and Tony Gurley, a Wake County commissioner and pharmacist, in the Republican primary election. Knightville resident Linda Coleman, state personnel director and former state representative, and N.C. Sen. Eric Mansfield, of Fayetteville, also have filed for the office as Democrats.
Lt. Gov. Walter Dalton, a Democrat, has filed to run for governor after Gov. Bev Perdue announced she is not seeking a second term. This leaves the race for second-in-command with no incumbent.
Contact reporter Karissa Minn at 704-797-4222.
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