House Speaker Pro Tem Dale Folwell (R-Forsyth) announced this afternoon he won’t seek a fifth term representing House District 74.
Folwell is double-bunked in the new redistricting maps with Rep. Larry Brown. But he said that wasn’t the prime motivator for his “very difficult decision” to step aside.
He said he’s not sure yet what his next move will be. He says a recent GOP straw poll showed he would have strong support in a run for Treasurer, Auditor, or Lieutenant Governor.
“A week ago,” he said, “another representative came into my office and told me, ‘At some point, you’re going to have to back off doing your job and think about leading.'”
Folwell said he’d accomplished most of what he came to the state House to do. His announcement came with a list of his 28 bills that have been signed into law since he came into office in 2005. Those laws include blood and organ donor changes, school bus safety, worker’s compensation reform, and a raft of motor vehicle and public safety laws.
Virtually all Folwell’s bills passed with strong bipartisan support, even when he was in the minority. That track record has become Folwell’s hallmark in a body that’s increasingly hyper-partisan, but it has reportedly angered some members of his own Republican caucus. Folwell: Not running again for House
“The big challenges facing this state and this country are the result of conservatives not conserving, liberals not liberating, representatives not representing, and leaders not leading,” he said. “We have to listen, then we have to act, and we have to get results. It’s not enough just to have the intent of passing a piece of legislation.”
Folwell said he'll announce his future plans later this month. “I like fixing things, and my next question is what’s next? I’d like to go on and fix something else.” However, he said, he plans to serve out the remainder of his term. And he pledged "zero" likelihood of ever going to work as a paid lobbyist.
Prior to Folwell’s announcement, there had been speculation that Rep. Larry Brown might retire. But Brown was quick to put that rumor to rest, stopping by the press room minutes after Folwell’s event to announce he is seeking the 74th district seat vacated by Folwell.
"Rep. Folwell has a track record as one of the most effective members of the General Assembly," said House Speaker Thom Tillis. "His leadership will be sorely missed in the North Carolina House. I wish him the very best, and thank him for his service."