“What do you know about hard work?” Like every other statewide candidate in North Carolina, Governor Hunt was my first call as I planned my race for NC Labor Commissioner. Governor Hunt was scanning my resume and while he admired the fact that I had been a budget director at Winston-Salem State University, a manager of corporate affairs at Lowe’s Companies and director of government relations at Pfizer, in his view he didn’t see anything that represented “hard” work.
This gave me the opportunity to talk with Governor Hunt about my upbringing in Farmville, Virginia. I was raised on a family farm, the middle of five siblings, by two parents who were educators. I topped and cured tobacco, slopped hogs, bailed hay and helped keep the farm moving. “Now that’s what I’m talking about,” Governor Hunt responded. “Go Get It!”
I have been asked many times over the last several months, why? Why are you running for Labor Commissioner? Having spent months on the campaign trail, my reason for running is reinforced everyday.
Contrary to what is popular right now, I do not believe government is evil and cannot do anything right. Appropriate government can accomplish great things by protecting its citizens and creating the environment for them to flourish. My reason for running for NC Labor Commissioner is simple. I want the North Carolina of tomorrow to be better than the North Carolina of today. For my candidacy, that means ensuring that North Carolina workplaces are the gold standard of safety and that NC employee’s work in environments that are safe and OSHA compliant. It also means that NC workers can draw upon a strong community college system for training and re-training when necessary.
In 2008, there was significant down ballot drop off between what President Obama received in early vote and what other down ballot races received. The President only won this state by 14,000+ votes. 2012 should represent new leadership and a fresh start for the Democratic Party. Having young, energetic, diverse candidates on the ticket that have a quality message and viable candidacy and that can raise the money to be competitive, is critically important to driving vote up and down the ballot so that ALL of our candidates have the opportunity for victory in November. We must tap into the energy of the Obama re-elect with candidates that inspire us at the state level as well.
As your next Labor Commissioner my door will always be open to anyone with an interest or concern about North Carolina workplaces. I will partner with anyone who is interested in supporting efforts to rigorously enforce workplace safety requirements and supporting strengthening of our community colleges. My goal is to provide the fullest possible opportunity for working families to enjoy stable employment and a chance at economic advancement. That is the North Carolina I want for my wife, daughter and son. That is the North Carolina I want for everyone in this state and that is why I am running for NC Labor Commissioner.
Democratic Candidate, NC Labor Commissioner