Dale Folwell is everywhere these days.
North Carolina’s state treasurer has been raising his profile of late. He’s been the subject of a lengthy profile in the Assembly last month, documenting his battles with NC hospitals for cheaper healthcare. And he made an appearance at the NC Press Association’s awards banquet last week, to present an award.
That’s where I caught up with him. We talked about the old days, when he was part of the GOP takeover of the General Assembly, of the new political environment in which he must now operate, and about Trump’s effect on North Carolina Republicans.
But he really wanted to talk about his campaign to reunite North Carolinians with their cash through a state-sponsored website, nccash.com. It’s where unclaimed paychecks, stock dividends, bank remnants and other pieces of financial detritus end up, just waiting to be picked up by their rightful owners. Every state has a program like this; Folwell just takes it personally.
He’s always been the type of Republican who keeps a sharp pencil, going back to his days on the Winston-Salem/Forsyth County School Board (1993-2000), though he’s also the sort of Republican who is hostile to the LGBTQ+ community — in 2012 as House speaker pro tem, he vociferously backed Amendment 1, banning same-sex marriage (which passed but was later found unconstitutional by federal courts) and ended coverage of gender-dysphoria treatment for state employees (also later ruled illegal by a federal court).
But he went to Winston-Salem State, so he can’t be all bad. And the guy found me $13 bucks, a dividend from a stock purchase I had long forgotten; Sayaka found a bunch of money her husband had not yet claimed; a few others in the newsroom also cashed in.
Folwell reminded me he found $1,000 for the International Civil Rights Center and Museum in March, and another $778.86 for Greater Winston-Salem Inc. in May.
These are not huge piles of money, but they add up. There is still $63,189,658.25 unclaimed in Forsyth County, and $83,508,796.64 in Guilford. These amounts haunt Folwell on pure principle, which introduces a wonderful paradox about the man.
For someone who believes that the government is a terrible steward of the people’s money, he is actually doing a fair job of it.
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