UPDATE: The NC Dream Team weighs in.
ORIGINAL POST: Dale Folwell, a longtime Republican state lawmaker from Winston-Salem who currently serves as speaker pro tem in the NC House, announced his candidacy for lieutenant governor during a press conference this morning at the Forsyth County Republican Party headquarters.
Forsyth County Sheriff Bill Schatzman, Winston-Salem/Forsyth County Schools Superintendent Don Martin and school board member Jeannie Metcalf and other supporters sat behind him.
“We’re going to be launching this campaign by talking about fixing problems,” Folwell said. “If I hear one more speech about what the problems are without a solution I think I’m going to throw up. People want their problems fixed. They don’t care how it’s done; they just want their problems fixed.
“We’re at a tipping point where we’re either going to repair what we have in North Carolina or we’re going to lose it,” Folwell added, “and I want to be part of repairing it.”
The announcement featured remarks from supporters about bills sponsored by Folwell that were signed into law and helped them address problems, including legislation that capped compensation benefits to reduce burdens on business owners, legislation that allows school districts to find out when a prospective employee has been recommended for termination in another system and legislation that provides for the forfeiture of vehicles when a criminal defendant attempts to elude arrest by speeding.
Counterbalancing his message of promoting practical solutions, Folwell espoused hard-line conservative positions on same-sex marriage and illegal immigration — stances that might alienate mainstream voters in the general election.
Folwell is a sponsor of a bill to place a referendum on the ballot in May that would amend the state constitution to define marriage as being between a man and a woman. He said he supports the ballot measure because he believes voters rather than lawmakers and judges should be the ones to decide such an important issue.
“The marriage amendment is something that people run on and apply for these jobs every two years,” he said. “It’s going to be settled. No longer is anyone going to be able to apply for a job or run on the fact that this is the cornerstone of their platform. I believe that marriage is between a man and a woman, and I intend to vote that way. But the bottom line is this: We need to get things like this off our plate so that we can concentrate on bigger issues that we have found somehow to be unwilling to concentrate on.”
Folwell said the 2000s has been “a lost decade in North Carolina” for jobs, family values and illegal immigration.
“Every state that borders us is clamping down on illegal immigration,” he said. “So whatever magnet we had — which I think was a very strong magnet for illegal immigration in North Carolina — when somebody else turns their magnet down lower, ours gets stronger. We need to make sure that in terms of illegal immigration laws that we need to have the strongest illegal immigration laws in the Southeast.”
In what is expected to be a polarizing election, Folwell indicated he’s not afraid to take strong stands.
“I completely disagree with the national press who says they want us to all get along,” he said. “I don’t think there’s anybody in this room who really cares if I get along with anybody. You really don’t care about my bedside manner. You want your problems fixed.”