• 64°

Democratic N.C. labor commissioner candidates explain job they want

By Shavonne Potts
Salisbury Post
The race for N.C. labor commissioner is about more than getting the victor’s name in elevators across the state, said the two Democrats in a runoff for the state office.
The N.C. Department of Labor is charged with promoting the “health, safety and general well-being” of more than 4 million workers in the state.
The June 24 runoff primary comes down to Mary Fant Donnan and John Brooks. The winner will face incumbent Cherie Berry, a republican, in the November general election.
Both candidates spoke Thursday at the monthly Democratic Party meeting in the Rowan County Administrative Offices building.
Brooks, who finished second to Donnan in the May primary, formally asked the State Board of Elections Tuesday to hold the June 24 runoff.
Brooks is a staff attorney for the N.C. Industrial Commission. Donnan is a program officer for the Z. Smith Reynolds Foundation in Winston-Salem.
Prior to joining the foundation, Donnan worked at the N.C. Department of Labor as a policy analyst and director of research and policy.
The candidates spoke briefly about a new change for Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA) along with the standards and inspections.
Brooks is running on his previous experience as labor commissioner from 1977 to 1993.
Brooks said the Democrats who serve on the Council of State combined have less experience on the council.
“I’ll add 50 percent more experience,” he said.
The labor commissioner also serves as a member of the Council of State.
Brooks’ objective is to refocus the Labor Department on making OSHA more effective.
“The Republican administration likes the way it’s being administered. It’s a weak administration,” he said in an interview before the meeting.
There are too many industrial and workplace accidents, he said.
Brooks is also pushing for a post-high school residential skills academy to be under the auspices of the University of North Carolina. He said the academy could produce course curriculum and materials and videos via teleconferencing systems.
The skills academy would position the state to compete more successfully in the emerging global economy, he said.
Donnan’s focus is to, “keep North Carolina safe … and working,” she said.
She talked about being able to answer the tough questions.
She described a time when current commissioner Berry essentially avoided taking a position on increasing the state’s minimum wage. In 2007, the General Assembly passed legislation to increase minimum wage. When Berry was asked her position on the increase, she said that decision was the responsibility of the General Assembly and she just implemented the laws, according to Donnan.
While the labor commissioner does just implement the laws, Donnan said the commissioner is most responsible for the relationships between employers and employees on such issues.
Donnan is a proponent of the Labor Department’s apprenticeship program, saying it’s important to expand high school vocational training.
The Apprenticeship and Training Bureau administers an apprenticeship program that helps workers learn new specialized skills needed in today’s workforce.
“I want to set a tone that balances the interests of employers with pressing issues of workers,” she said.
Donnan said she believes regulation is important.
Both candidates encouraged voters to participate in the election.
“This race matters to every working family in North Carolina,” Donnan said.
For more information about John Brooks, visit his Web site, www.brookslaborcomm.com. For more information about Mary Fant Donnan, visit her Web site at www.maryfantdonnan.com.
Contact Shavonne Potts at 704-797-4253 or spotts@salisburypost.com.

Comments

Comments closed.

Health

Salisbury City Council will return to virtual meetings, require face masks in city buildings

Landis

Landis goes big with two helicopters for National Night Out

Local

Spencer and East Spencer join forces for National Night Out

Local

City Council approves Grants Landing development on Rowan Mill Road

Education

In lighter-than-usual year, RSS nutrition staff serve more than 100,000 summer meals

Nation/World

CDC issues new eviction ban for most of US through Oct. 3

Nation/World

Pushback challenges vaccination requirements at US colleges

News

More North Carolinians getting COVID shot amid Delta variant

Crime

Appeals court tosses China Grove man’s murder conviction, citing lack of evidence

Crime

Two men charged with robbing, killing Gold Hill woman

David Freeze

Day 8 for Freeze brings trooper, tunnel and more climbing

Education

Back to School: A message from RSS Superintendent Tony Watlington

Education

Salisbury’s colleges take different approaches to COVID-19 vaccinations

Coronavirus

Back to school: COVID-19 in RSS, K-12 schools

Local

Rowan County commissioners approve agreement for millions in opioid settlement funding

High School

Fall sports: Official practice begins

News

Nancy Stanback remembered for compassion, philanthropy

News

David Freeze: Finally a day that met expectations

Education

Back to School: Getting to know RSS schools

Education

Back to school: From public to charter, Faith Elementary won’t miss a beat

News

Threat of rising evictions looms in North Carolina

Nation/World

US hits 70% vaccination rate — a month late, amid a surge

Education

Turbyfill remembered for years working to help students

Local

Blotter: Shots fired when motorcycle club tries to kick member out