Folwell hopes to conserve states finances as NC treasurer

Published 12:05 am Monday, January 25, 2016

When you meet North Carolina’s lone Republican candidate for state treasurer, he’ll probably be carrying a bowling pin.

He’s not carrying it in case his community bowling alley comes up one pin short. Instead, Dale Folwell’s bowling pin directly applies to his candidacy for state treasurer. Folwell is a former state legislator who also led the state’s Division of Employment Security. He spoke about his candidacy with the Salisbury Post last week.

The bowling pin, he says, directly correlates with the effort required to reform a state agency. Just like reforming a state agency, Folwell says there’s never the same number of balls, employees or resources, as pins, targets or goals.

“You’ve got to have clarity of thought,” Folwell said.

Half-jokingly, Folwell said many candidates claim to be conservatives, “but they’ve never conserved a thing in their life.”

“You can’t be the noun until you’ve done the verb,” he said.

Folwell’s goals if elected include preserving the state’s AAA bond rating — North Carolina is one of few states in the nation to have the rating — conserving taxpayer dollars to ensure a stable financial future for the state and serving citizens with integrity, ability and passion.

Perhaps Folwell’s most recent accomplishment is helping restore the state’s unemployment insurance reserve to more than $1 billion while leading the Division of Employment Security. The reserve was $2.5 billion in debt when Gov. Pat McCrory took office. It was even higher — $2.8 billion — at one point.

Folwell, 57, has also served as speaker pro tempore of the N.C. House. He served in the N.C. General Assembly for four terms. He also served on the Winston-Salem-Forsyth County Board of Education for seven years.

He is an accountant by trade. Folwell earned a bachelor’s degree in accounting from UNC Greensboro in 1984.

If elected to the position of state treasurer, Folwell said he hopes to be able to “look taxpayers in the eye in four years and say we’re doing it better and cheaper than we were before.”

The state treasurer is responsible for overseeing financial operations of North Carolina government. Folwell said it’s among the most important elected positions in the state. The office has more to do with an average North Carolinian’s life than any other elected position, he said.

The treasurer is an ex officio member of the North Carolina State Board of Education, the State Board of Community Colleges and the State Banking Commission.

Folwell would also oversee the N.C. Local Government Commission, which must approved all debt issued to government entities in the state. When Rowan County sought approval of a loan to build the Rowan-Salisbury School System’s central office, it went through the Local Government Commission.

Two Democrats are vying for the position — Ron Elmer, of Cary, and Dan Blue III, of Raleigh — and will face off in the March 15 primary. Folwell automatically advances to the November general election without a Republican opponent.

Contact reporter Josh Bergeron at 704-797-4246.