by Donna Martinez
Senior Writer and Editor, John Locke Foundation
He’s a bulldog. I’m talking about Treasurer Dale Folwell. This week he demonstrated that he’s not afraid to go toe-to-toe with Gov. Roy Cooper – and in a public meeting. The location: the August 3 Council of State meeting, where statewide elected officials convene to take votes on items that require review/approval and to discuss pressing issues facing North Carolina.
Treasurer Folwell attempted to add to the meeting agenda a discussion of North Carolina’s “employment crisis” – the fact that businesses can’t find workers and are forced to compete with government benefits. Here’s how Carolina Journal reported on Folwell’s concerns.
“I’m sounding the alarm because we’re in an employment crisis in North Carolina,” said Treasurer Dale Folwell, a Republican. “We’re facing double jeopardy here in many instances, where we’re taking money from businesses and making them pay for a system that prevents them from hiring individuals.
“This is no longer about generosity. It’s about justice,” Folwell said.
I watched the meeting, thanks to a Facebook feed. WOW. I want to share with you some of the key moments. For your convenience, I’ve pulled them out and posted them below. Folwell’s common sense about the need to face facts was so impressive. Also important were additional comments made by Insurance Commissioner Mike Causey and Lt. Gov. Mark Robinson.
First, LISTEN to the exchange between Gov. Cooper and Treasurer Folwell as Cooper says NO to adding a discussion of the labor shortage to the meeting agenda.
Having been rebuffed by Gov. Cooper, Folwell waited until the final section of the Council of State meeting, where each member provides an update to the group. LISTEN to our treasurer school our governor – and the other members of the group – on the labor shortage in our state and the perverse incentive of paying people NOT to work through long-term unemployment benefits, and the devastating and unfair impact on businesses.
Gov. Cooper didn’t respond to Folwell. But, two other Republican officials did. Insurance Commissioner Mike Causey took up the issue, telling Cooper and the other members what he sees and hears, including a message for Raleigh from an elderly man at a Bojangles about those who won’t take a job. LISTEN.
When it was Lt. Governor Mark Robinson’s turn to speak, you won’t be surprised that he was vocal on the value of, and need for, a strong work ethic. LISTEN:
What was Gov. Cooper’s response at the end of the meeting? To ignore the facts and fail to engage in a reasoned discussion. As Carolina Journal reported:
Cooper’s rejoinder was that the federal benefits will extend in just over four weeks. He criticized North Carolina’s existing unemployment compensation program as “one of the shortest and stingiest” in the country.
“I’m pleased that the unemployment rate continues to drop and that jobs are created at a record pace in our state,” Cooper said.
Elections have consequences. Let’s be proud of our elected officials who aren’t afraid to speak truth to power. Thank you to Treasurer Dale Folwell, Insurance Commissioner Mike Causey, and Lt. Gov. Mark Robinson.