Meet my husband, Dale.
Most of you have never met me, but many of you know and admire my husband, NC State Treasurer Dale Folwell. I want to introduce you to the man I know, so that you, too, will know the brilliant, dedicated and hard-working man he is. A man with his gift for finding the most practical and efficient solutions to complex problems is the right man to serve as Governor of North Carolina, just as I believed he is the right man to share my life with.
Our story began 37 years ago. I should have realized I was in for a wild and wonderful ride when he called me for a date. “Would you like to go with me and another couple to see a play or are you involved in a relationship that would preclude that?” I was intrigued. He had me at “preclude.”
I was a 28-year-old graphic designer. Dale was 27. That year, he was a top performer at his brokerage firm. He worked long hours, but always saved Saturday nights for us. He has never faltered in his commitment to me and our family in all these years.
In his early years, his single mother worked hard to support three children on a shoestring. I was shocked when he described times when a meal was a cube of beef bullion in a pot of water – the only ingredients in the house.
As a young boy, Dale figured out the way to pull his family out of their desperate financial circumstances, even earning enough to buy a house for the family at age 19. He has never been afraid of hard work.
He worked first as a newspaper boy, developing a more efficient way of collecting and delivering the heavy newspapers. At age 12, he worked at a gas station, in the days of full service. Later, he developed his biceps not from weights but from loading heavy cases onto huge trucks while working at Coca Cola bottling.
On a dare that he wouldn’t last two weeks as a barrel-rolling garbage collector, he not only persevered, but transformed the whole route within two years. When he realized how to make improvements, he made a proposal to the private owner. “If I can reduce costs, would you give me the difference in a pay raise?” He cut work time, fuel costs, landfill fees, and was given a pay raise. His boss was so impressed with Dale’s unique ability to observe, calculate and restructure in overwhelmingly positive ways, he told him, “As much as I would love to keep you, you deserve a formal education.”
The first part of his life as a blue collar worker ended, leaving him with the real life experience to understand the struggles of the poor and working class.
Dale earned a Bachelors Degree in Accounting while working 70 hours a week at three jobs. He went on to earn his Masters degree in Accounting, passing all four parts of the CPA exam in one sitting. This led to a successful career in finance – retiring in 1998 to become a private investor.
His second career as a white collar worker ended, giving him the ability to understand the economic workings that build prosperity.
When we were newly married, I had no idea we would ever be in the public service arena. I was six months pregnant with the first of our three children when Dale asked if I would support his running for alderman of the Southeast ward of Winston-Salem. He had figured out a way to increase both safety and efficiency regarding police and their vehicles and wanted to improve both. While it was predicted that Dale had almost no chance of winning against a popular incumbent, he came within 75 votes of victory!
His third focus was and is public service.
An opportunity came along when a seat opened on the Winston-Salem/Forsyth County School Board. He served on the board for 8 years while we raised three beautiful children together: Anna, Dalton, and Stephen. In 1999, we lost little seven-year-old Dalton when he was hit by a car while boarding the school bus. This was a difficult time for all of us and it inspired Dale to get further involved in public service.
Dale ran and won a seat in the House of Representatives. One of his goals was school bus safety reform. Passing a school bus is now one of the most serious moving infractions on the books. He went on to serve 4 terms, the last of those years as Speaker Pro Tem, where he was known for his common sense and fairness. Incredibly, he passed 28 major pieces of legislation, not easy, as he was in the minority party. Bipartisan cooperation was possible because his ideas made sense to all.
Refusing to let a stutter mute his voice, he devised a work-around that resulted in a wonderful talent of making complex subjects easily understood. He can make terms like “assumed rate of return” seem like everyday language. Over the years, people tell me how much they gain from his speeches. His clear voice cuts through the noise.
For 37 years, I’ve watched this man work to make things better, more efficient, and more equal in ways that prosper the whole community. He likes to fix things.
During his three years as Assistant Secretary of Commerce at Department of Employment Security, he was able to modernize that broke and broken system. He updated and streamlined the phone system (which callers had found impenetrable), increased morale and dramatically saved taxpayers hundreds of millions in criminal fraud. But even more impressive to me, was his interest in the thoughts and ideas of the nearly 600 employees in his charge. I remember him telling of the daily meetings he held, inviting 30 or so at a time by department so he could meet with and listen to their thoughts. He will tell you that some of his best ideas there came from those employees.
He listens. He’s accessible.
Dale has served as the North Carolina State Treasurer for 7 years and intends to finish his second term, leaving things in good order for the next Treasurer.
Now, he is running for Governor.
The one word I want to give voters is to vote for competence.
Dale has proved his problem-solving skills in every area of his career. He is the only candidate who has worked from the bottom of a garbage barrel to the top of economic finance — making him able to understand the needs of all. Only with this level of life experience can a governor truly represent all.
He will bring his keen mind and open heart to work for the betterment of every North Carolina citizen. When one prospers, we all prosper.
Some folks say to me, “He is one of the finest Treasurers we have ever had! We don’t want to lose him as Treasurer!”
And they are right.
He is a great Treasurer.
And he will be a great Governor.
And P.S. He asked me first. I said “I’m in!” All the way.