Tuesday, August 28, 2007

Wayne Goodwin Announces His Plans Regarding 2008 Labor Commissioner Race

August 28, 2007

To My Dear Friends and Supporters:

Re: 2008 Candidacy for NC Commissioner of Labor

Four years ago this month – after serving eight years in the North Carolina House of Representatives – I formally announced my candidacy for Commissioner of Labor.

I ran in 2004 out of a sense of mission – for our economy, for my hometown that had been devastated by major job losses, and for what I believed was right for the State and my political party.

I was honored to receive the Democratic nomination and to share my passion and ideas about the role of the office of Labor Commissioner with tens of thousands of voters across the Tar Heel state.

Of course, running against a sitting Commissioner of Labor and being the only Democrat running Statewide in 2004 against an incumbent Republican, I knew it was going to be a challenge.

Notwithstanding, I out-organized and out-worked my opponent and won lifelong friends across the State. County keys and business leaders supporting me around North Carolina, as well as many newspaper editorial boards and voter advocates from both major parties, endorsed my candidacy. Though it wasn’t easy, I also raised approximately 25% more funds than my opponent and ran regional and Statewide campaign advertising longer than she did.

However, in the waning days of the 2004 election the poll numbers in North Carolina of those Democrats running for President and Vice President, as well as for U.S. Senate, took a dip. As a result, so did mine. In the end, although I received a majority of the “early vote”, the preference of those voting on Election Day itself did not go my way and my campaign came up short. By all accounts, it was a respectable loss. (Taking the sting out of the loss was personal joy for my wife who was elected by an ultra-landslide to succeed me in the legislature.)

Immediately thereafter my friends and supporters insisted that I run again for North Carolina Labor Commissioner. After all, they reminded me, many State officials often have won election on their second try after an initial trial run.

Over the last 30 months I have continued my travels and speaking engagements and modest fundraising around the Tar Heel State, all the while exploring my plans for next year. Everywhere I was invited the call was strong and encouraging: Don’t give up. Do run again. You’re a great candidate who ran for the right reasons.

After more than two years of intense deliberation with my immediate family and my closest friends and supporters, and most particularly during the last several weeks as I reached a self-imposed deadline for a formal decision, I hereby issue the following statement:

I will not be a candidate for North Carolina Commissioner of Labor in 2008.

This decision affords me the opportunity to further focus on the needs of my family, the most immediate members of which still are impacted by the rigors and fundraising pressures of my 2004 bid.

This decision also affords me the opportunity to continue my full-time duties serving as Assistant Commissioner of Insurance under the outstanding leadership of Insurance Commissioner Jim Long and to volunteer for him in his 2008 campaign for re-election.

This decision will give other Democrats the opportunity to consider being a candidate for Labor Commissioner, and to organize in advance of filing for that office in January.

More importantly, this decision allows me to give my priority support, time, and talents to State Representative Melanie Wade Goodwin as she seeks re-election to her third term in the General Assembly.

Having traversed this State a multitude of times over the last ten years, I assure you that we Democrats have an able array of candidates who will be able to run, win and serve as North Carolina’s next Labor Commissioner.

The Democratic nominee will run for the right reasons:

The Democratic nominee will fight for a Labor Commissioner who actually believes in the office and in representing the working people of this State, and actually stands for better wages and affordable healthcare.

The Democratic nominee will be a Labor Commissioner who is fair to both business owners and workers when matters come before the Department of Labor, and not be known as having prejudged matters coming before the Department.

The Democratic nominee will rightly argue that it is just plain wrong for us to have a Commissioner of Labor who is absent from the post for the most part, and who instead relies heavily upon unnecessary posting of both her photograph on every elevator and escalator in the State and gimmicky songs by erstwhile supporters on the Internet.

The Democratic nominee will say it is time to have the office return to its mission and to adapt more quickly to the 21st century.

The Democratic nominee will rightly contend that the office should not only stand up for workers, but also fight for small businesses to help them keep their workers comp rates low and being a part of the State’s team that brings and keeps jobs in this State, instead of claiming – like the current Labor Commissioner - that the office should have no role whatsoever.

With those Democratic candidates, I stand ready and willing to help in whatever way possible for those good and noble causes.

There is also another role in my future. Having raised more money than my opponents in every race I have run for the last 10 years, and with the specific insights gained from my 2004 statewide campaign, I fully understand how campaign fundraising can quickly turn into a “money chase” and poison the best of intentions of good candidates. To keep their campaigns viable, candidates are forced to seek large contributions from the very political action committees (PACs) fed by the industries the office sought regulates. Accordingly, I will continue my strong support for voluntary public financing of certain elections so that North Carolina will have fewer campaign finance scandals and fewer conflicts of interest, and more good candidates who actually represent the voters and not the special interests. To accomplish additional positive election reforms, I am pleased to have a more pronounced role as a member of the Board for the North Carolina Center for Voter Education.

Making the decision to forego a repeat run for Labor Commissioner was not easy.

It was not easy because of my passion for public service.

It was not easy because I believe we can do even better things with the office of Labor Commissioner.

It was also not easy because of the outpouring of support in 2004 and vibrant encouragement I have received since then to run in 2008.

As many Democrats statewide know, my involvement in and my commitment to politics – the art of the possible – and to good government will remain a prominent and integral part of my life. For example, I’ve already mentioned the N.C. CENTER FOR VOTER EDUCATION. Presently I also serve as Chairman of the EIGHTH CONGRESSIONAL DISTRICT DEMOCRATIC EXECUTIVE COMMITTEE and Chairman of the PLATFORM AND RESOLUTIONS COMMITTEE of the North Carolina Democratic Party. Furthermore, upon recommendation of Speaker Joe Hackney, the General Assembly this month appointed me to serve on the E-NC AUTHORITY, a commission vital to rural North Carolina’s interest in creation and expansion of Internet-related jobs.

To my friends and supporters who have stressed for me not to give up, rest assured: I have not and will not.

Because of the satisfaction it provides my longing for public service, one day I do anticipate running again for elective office.

Until that time comes, I am confident that my life will be the calmest and most relaxing since before 1996 when first my name appeared on a public ballot.

For that, and for the dear family members, friends and supporters who have been with me all the way and made it possible, I am especially grateful.

Thank you for taking the time to consider my decision.

# # #

The above is the FULL text of the Goodwin statement. Out of respect for the growing role that BlueNC.com and blogging have in political discourse today, BlueNC had the exclusive first rights to post an excerpted version of this matter today. Check this site later for a video clip of the above statement.


Lisa Grafstein said...


So sorry you won't be running, but you have clearly made a very thoughtful decision. Thank you for your past and future service to the state and the party. All the best to you and your family.

Lisa Grafstein

Gray Newman said...

Sorry to hear it, hopefully we can find a nominee who would have been as good a fit for this position as you would have been.

Eva Ritchey said...

Yes, I think it is a loss to NC. But I have great respect for a leader who knows how to prioritize. Family First.

You're the only person I can think of who would become Commissioner of Labor who might address the grievous lack of rights that employees have in this "right to fire" state. As you discuss this in the circles of government, please remember that there are many out here who suffer from NC's antiquated laws that favor the employer at the expense of the worker.

Yes, you're right. Commissioner Long is one of the best most qualified state commissioners we have ever had.

Do good.

Jeff L. Thigpen said...

I appreciate all you have done to help us in the General Assembly and at the Department of Insurance. As always, you and your family have my best wishes. Commissioner Long has a great wingman in Wayne Goodwin!

Take care, Your VP, and Mr. Deeds,
Jeff Thigpen

Anonymous said...

Labor Department's loss is the Department of Insurance's gain. You have been doing a great job at Insurance.

Your concern for the workers of our State is admirable - they would have been well-represented by your service.