Your chance to be part of the 1 percent

Tomorrow you can be part of a select group of people and have your vote ‘count’ more than it ever has before. On Tuesday North Carolina will conduct a 2nd primary to determine runoff winners for various offices. When a similar election was held in 2008, turnout was an abysmal 1.8%

While Republicans have several contested runoffs, including a few for Council of State, Democrats have only one statewide runoff – Labor Commissioner. As one of the only two Republicans on the Council of State, Cherie Berry has consistently been an embarrassment to North Carolina and the workers who rely on her department. We need to send the “Elevator Queen” home for good this year and we have two compelling candidates.

John Brooks has an enormous amount of experience, having served as Commissioner of Labor for 16 years. The experience and knowledge he would bring to the office would be a vast improvement over Commissioner Berry.

Marlowe Foster is an exciting young candidate who would bring a needed breath of fresh air to the office of Labor Commissioner. He’s championed better utilizing Community Colleges for job training and a greater focus on helping workers achieve a health work/family balance. Foster recently (last month) turned 40, which would make him the youngest member of the Council of State should he be elected.

Another race of note is the runoff in House District 32 between Jim Crawford III and Nathan Baskerville. This is the other Democratic runoff featuring a young person, as 31 year old Nathan Baskerville faces off against Rep. Jim Crawford’s son.

While the Farm Team has not made any official endorsements in the runoff primary, we do wish Marlowe Foster and Nathan Baskerville the best of luck tomorrow!

No matter who you’re supporting, join the one percent on Tuesday and VOTE!

You can find a complete list of races at the SBOE website

Evan Degnan
Grassroots Farm Team


Leaning towards Foster

Sorry, but wasn't Brooks Commissioner of Labor in the time surrounding the chicken processing plant that killed 25? (Please correct me if I am wrong.)

Not only does that make it hard for me to vote him back into the same office, but I can't help but think the ads against him would be a simple "look what he did for you last time" with pictures of charred corpses.

This Campaign is About the Future.

We need fresh faces and new solutions in order to retake the Office of Labor Commissioner. North Carolina is a very different place than when my opponent was Labor Commissioner in the 70's. In 2012, it is critical to have a candidate that can appeal to the base of the Party and unaffiliated voters that are the key to WINNING elections in North Carolina. It is also important to have a candidate that can raise the resources to compete statewide.

We have to retake this office in order to make NC better for working people. I would appreciate your support.

Marlowe Foster
Democratic Candidate for NC Labor Commissioner

You got that wrong.

Brooks was Labor Commissioner when a food processing plant caught fire and 25 workers were killed. That fire was not John's fault. Brooks fought a Democratic Legislature for years to beef-up (no pun intended) workplace protection.

There is an important distinction between a chicken-processing plant and a food-processing plant that has escaped the media for decades and which even I didn't understand until recently. Chicken-processing and food-processing plants are listed and inspected differently.

The Hamlet food processing plant wasn't even listed as a business with the Secretary of State's office - an important detail that many folks forget. Without being listed, the Labor Commissioner didn't know it existed!

The Fire Marshall is part of the Insurance Commissioner's office, but they weren't required to share information about the plant with the Labor Commissioner. In fact, they were prohibited from doing so. John fought to change that, and after the fire he got that standard changed. As soon as Harry Payne won the primary and the general election, he changed the standard back to the way it was before the fire.

I am sure that John is ready for all those comparisons. I've heard him talk - and Cherie Berrie has her own "skeletons" that can be dragged out of the collapsed ditches and other job sites all over our state since she's been elected. John has worked for the Industrial Commission since 1992, and he's seen how workplace injuries have skyrocketed under Berrie's leadership at the Labor Commission.

And with all this "breath of fresh air" talk - just remember that "ageism" is a form of prejudice too! As a voter, I tend to vote for the candidate with more of the correct or appropriate experience. If you ask me, I'd rather have someone fight for me who has lots of experience fighting for working people instead of someone whose been a corporate lobbyist with lots of experience working against working men and women.

That's what corporate lobbyists do - they work for the corporations. And as we've seen lately, corporations are no friend of working men and women.

Chris Telesca
Wake County Verified Voting

I'm not concerned about "Ageism" in politics

A quick look at the demographics of the General Assembly (and most elected bodies) would suggest little discrimination toward older members of our community.

Not concerned about the GA

Most of those "good old boys" (especially the Republicans) must have played football without a helmet on. Or ate lead paint chips when they were toddlers. Or were dropped on their heads as children. ;-)

But you can't say that about John Brooks. If you knew him, you'd know he is smart, progressive, and very serious about protecting NC workers. When I drove him down to Salisbury to debate Mary Fant Donen in 2008, he gave me quite an education about the history of the Democratic Party in NC - including lots of information about the money and the power.

I am concerned about Fosters "ageism" in the attacks on Brooks for allegedly being a racist? It's pretty dumb to attack your opponent for alleged prejudice with your own prejudice, isn't it?

And yes I agree that there are a bunch of fat old white men in the GA. For the record, I am a 52 YO SWM, 5'11" and 230 pounds. However, when I look at candidates for public office, tend to look for experience - either direct or transferable.

But when you are voting for Labor Commissioner, and you have one candidate who has 16 years of experience as the elected Labor Commissioner, and 20 years since then working for the Industrial Commission dealing with workman's comp cases, and is a lawyer - I really have to ask what Marlowe Foster brings to the table OTHER than being a fresh face? Clearly working as a corporate lobbyist doesn't add any value in my mind, since so many corporate lobbyists work to weaken the very regulations a Labor Commissioner is supposed to enforce!

When two candidates are equally qualified, I'd go for the diversity. When comparing transferable experience, I look to see in what industry that came from.

Imagine someone who lobbied for big coal or oil being appointed to head up the EPA? That would raise such a ruckus (or I hope it would) that no amount of smoke and mirrors about fresh faces, new ideas, and bogus charges against an opponent would misdirect intelligent Democrats away from performing due diligence on the former lobbyist.

Chris Telesca
Wake County Verified Voting