Interview questions were developed by a Vetting Committee of 10 members of the Coastal Carolina Taxpayers Association. All candidates for a particular office were asked the same questions. Interviews were conducted by 3 rotating members of the Vetting Committee. Summaries are the agreed-upon consensus of each 3-member group. Candidates were asked to interview in-person, but phone interviews were offered for candidates living outside Craven County if schedules would not allow travel.
Dale Folwell, State Treasurer
Interview Date: Sept. 30, 2016
Party Affiliation: Republican
Interviewed: Conference Call Or In-Person
1. Kim Fink
2. Kathrine Wyatt
3. Glenn Fink
1)Name: Dale Folwell
Address: 299 S. Westview Dr., Winston Salem, 27104
2) Educational Background Undergrad and Masters Degrees in Accounting from UNCG.
Experience: Mr. Folwell lIkes to fix things, working with his mind, his hands, and his back. Professional experience is based on his blue collar experience, from being a garbage collector, a motorcycle mechanic, whatever it took to provide for his family. He worked as an investor with Alex Brown and sons, a company founded 216 yrs. ago. Mr. Folwell graduated in 1984 at a late age (his words!) from UNCG. He retired in 1998. Mr. Folwell mentioned he was the only kid on free lunch in his high school.
Political experience: Winston Salem – Forsyth County school board for 8 years, and in the General Assembly as a member of the House of Representative for 8 years.
Demonstrations of Leadership: Has always listened to the people. When in the General Assembly, every year he ran 5 major pieces of legislation related to what he heard from the people, including law enforcement, educators and government officials. Typically one bill would be a family values bill and there would be one that was more specific to his interests. The people you trust to protect the public, to educate your kids, to pave roads, run ports, fight fires, those people we trust to do those jobs, have all endorsed Dale Folwell to be state treasurer. Mr. Folwell was rated number 1 and 2 as the most conservative legislator most of the time he was in the General Assembly by Civitas. He was also one of the most influential members of the House of Representatives during his time there.
3) Memberships and Associations: CPA .
4) Why are you running for this office? Shared a quote from a former NC Treasurer, Harlan Boyles, “The state treasurer has more constitutional and statutory responsibilities and duties than any other elected official in North Carolina except the Governor”. He feels it is important for a person with integrity, ability and passion to fill this job. People don’t realize some of the important responsibilities of the treasurer and how they touch the lives of North Carolinians. He stated that he is good at making and saving money for the citizens of NC.
Mr. Folwell said that the state treasurer will make a generational difference in North Carolina’s future, more so than the Governor or the President. We have $40 billion dollars in underfunded healthcare/pension liabilities. ($30 million in health care and at least $10 billion and growing pensions) This represents 20% of the state budget for each of the next 15 years.
Mr. Folwell referred to an editorial in the Fayetteville Observer recently that explains how we got there. (http://www.fayobserver.com/opinion/local_columns/dale-r-folwell-how-do-we-get-pension-fund-back/article_dbd38880-468f-580f-925a-efb57701b792.html)
He has been called “the billion dollar man” for overseeing the payoff of $2.7 BILLION dollars in unemployment debt to the Federal government and built a $1 BILLION dollar surplus in 31 months.
5) What is the organizational structure of your campaign, fund raising capability, etc.? Full blown effort with director, compliance officers, volunteers etc.
6) Which of the Founding Fathers do you most admire? Mr Folwell stated he had a different upbringing educationally, He tends to focus on people that he has witnessed in his lifetime. A person that is not a founding father, but is admired is Margaret Thatcher.
As an accountant, and a person that makes money and saves money, the people that I look up to in the world of economics (outside politics) include Von Mesis, and Hayek, who teach basic conservative principles. For example, money doesn’t know where the border is, it goes where it is invited and stays where it is welcome. He has a basic financial conservative philosophy. If you want more of something, reward it.
7) Margaret Thatcher once said, “Consensus is a lack of leadership.” Do you agree?
Mr. Folwell answered with a quote from former NC Governor Jim Martin, “Doing what is right is rarely wrong”. There have only been 3 Republican governors since reconstruction. Jim Martin was the only 2 term Governor so far. Mr. Folwell stated that as a member of the minority party and a conservative in both the Easley and Purdue administration, he was able to get 29 major pieces of his legislation passed with bi-partisan support. . He was able to accomplish this by showing people how and why this idea will save money, save lives, save minds – it doesn’t matter what party you are in. He tried to build consensus by showing how this idea helps them, you build consensus by showing how it will be better for everyone. For instance, Mr. Folwell was behind the vehicle tag renewal and property tax bills being combined and sent in one envelope (Tax and Tag program) this program is collecting $200 million dollars this year that was previously unpaid or delinquent. These dollars benefit the counties, the volunteer fire departments and the cities.
8) Which President do you most admire? There are several Presidents that he admires, but he most admires a man that never became president, Barry Goldwater. He was inspirational to him. He has a signed copy of the book “Conscience of a Conservative.” Mr. Folwell has met the presidents from Nixon on. He admired Nixon, and understands that he had his weaknesses. Others he admires include Ronald Reagan, and Harry Truman,
Why? Reagan was very good at explaining things before attempting to fix them. If you do it the other way around, no one is behind you to back you up. He was good at sharing/explaining plans and then fixing the problems. This is the way Mr. Folwell likes to work as well.
9) Do you believe the Founding Fathers intended the Constitution to be:
a. An evolving document who’s meaning changes with time?
b. A permanent set of rules to limit the power of the federal government?
Mr. Folwell’s answer was, “b.”
Mr. Folwell holds Constitutional conservative values. He believes the Constitution is to be followed as written and that it is not up for interpretation by politicians.
10) Discuss an ethical dilemma you faced. What happened?
Everyone has faced ethical dilemmas. Ethics is what you do when no one is watching. Anytime you are loyal to God and to the mission you are undertaking. Many times what humans may see as an ethical dilemma eventually is determined not to be.
For example, thinking forward, if he wins this election, figuring out what you think you would do that would absolutely lose you votes in the next election. One action that may do this relates to the state pension plan. This is one of the largest pools of money in the world. It is almost $90 billion dollars, and it is assumed to grow at 7 and 1/4 %, but it is not doing this,and it has not averaged that for the last 15 years. This will not be achieved in the next 15 years either, but is reported this way because it looks good. Not a dilemma for him at all because he will be honest with the people from the beginning, and they will know that a more realistic return would be 5%. Realistically, that could mean the pension plan goes from 95% funding to 80%.
His objective is to solve problems, like he did in the unemployment office, and to work hard to get rid of waste, fraud and abuse inside the system. Consider what that number would be if waste is 2 %. That is $2 billion dollars wasted! The treasurer’s office manages an amount of money that is 5 times larger than the state budget. When you make a positive change in something that is 5 times larger than the state budget, it has a big impact!
How did you resolve it
? Don’t get in the situation in the first place. Be honest. Referred to a rap lyric he recently heard that says, “Lying is harder than trying.” It takes a lot of energy and ability to cover up misdeeds.
11) Where do individual rights come from? The Creator. The Constitution.
12) What do you know about Common Core? Knows that there are good parts in it that are in curriculum now, and have been for a number of years. Unfortunately, there are also some bad parts associated with Common Core, and he is totally against those parts.
What is your position on it and why. If he were given the chance for an up or down vote on the Common Core, he would vote down.
13) What is your opinion on gun ownership, registration, and gun free zones? All opinions are based on what the Constitution says, not on how someone interrupts it.
13) What does the phrase “Separation of Church and State” mean to you? It means exactly what it says, with a caveat that the founding fathers were secular and religious and there are many cemented examples on how all that intertwined. Mr Folwell states that there is no better person than Supreme Court Justice Paul Newby on this subject. In a game show, Mr. Newby would be his “lifeline.”
14) If elected, what would be your number one priority item during your term in office? There are 3 priority items.
1) To eliminate at least $100 million dollars in Wall Street fees out of the state pension plan.
2) To freeze family premiums in state health plan that is $30 Billion dollars in debt – premiums that are driving out young, healthy families leaving us with a very unhealthy plan.
3) Let the sun shine on 2 places on earth, one where that happens geographically, and the other place is to open the books. The state treasurer is keeper of the public purse, and it is the right of the people to see where that money comes from, who is managing it, and where it goes.