RALEIGH – Within an hour of his resignation as assistant secretary of Commerce in Gov. Pat McCrory’s administration becoming effective, former state Rep. Dale Folwell filed paperwork to run for state treasurer in 2016. Folwell seeks to replace Janet Cowell, the Democrat and current treasurer who announced in October that she will not seek reelection.
“I have always raised my hand when there’s a problem to be solved,” Folwell said. Folwell mentioned what he called a “$30 billion healthcare liability” as one of the problems facing the state.
“No state has been able to solve this. I think North Carolina, just like we did with unemployment, has the potential to be the first.”
Tuesday marked the last day for Folwell’s run as head of the state’s unemployment office, where he enacted the fulfillment of McCrory’s campaign pledge to “tear up the credit card” and repay money owed to the federal government for unemployment benefits paid out during the recession. State leaders repaid the federal debt by instituting a surcharge on businesses and curtailing jobless benefits, which had been among the most generous in the southeast but which critics contend are hurting workers who are still without jobs.
McCrory and Folwell touted the benefit to businesses recently, saying that N.C. employers would see a collective boon of more than $600 million in tax savings and premium reductions now that the economy has improved and the debt has been paid off. Unemployment in the state topped 11 percent in the depths of the recession but has been under 6 percent since September 2014.
Folwell, who is a C.P.A. and former investment adviser, stood by the governor’s decision to repay the debt in his campaign announcement.
“By implementing the new law and changes in processes that cut down on waste, fraud and abuse, the system went from bankruptcy to solvency in 30 months,” his release said.
Folwell, who announced last week that his resignation would be effective Tuesday, is the only announced candidate on the Republican side. On the Democratic side, Cary C.P.A. Ron Elmer has announced his plan to run for treasurer.