Within weeks thereafter from that posting, a slow trickle of prospective Democratic candidates for the job began contacting me. Naturally, they sought counsel, advice, and an endorsement. Due to my position as Chairman of the Eighth Congressional District Democratic Executive Committee I am prohibited from making an endorsement in a contested primary race. So, all I could do was to share my best advice and counsel to those who contacted me. And that I did.
Until last week, though, none of the prospective candidates wanted to "go public." With filing having commenced it is now okay for me to relay information about the race - in my discretion - to inquiring readers and partisans such as yourself.
Out of no fewer than than the seven persons who expressed an interest to me in running, thus far only two candidates have filed for the 2008 Democratic nomination for Commissioner of Labor.
The first to file was Tyrone (Ty) Richardson of Middlesex, North Carolina. He is a graduate of the Institute of Political Leadership.
The second to file was Robin Anderson, a Wake County attorney who is chairman of the North Carolina Personnel Commission and an appointee of Governor Mike Easley.
There is at least one other potential candidate considering a bid for Labor Commissioner. If she decides to throw her hat into the ring, then I will provide a posting here at Wayne's World about her as well.
With all of the above particulars now being said, Wayne's World wanted to share with you a press release received last night from the Robin Anderson campaign. It is a product of the highly-enlightening, highly-disturbing recent investigative series published in the Charlotte Observer about poultry workers in North Carolina and how state and national OSHA officials have dropped the ball. (Entitled "The Cruelest Cuts", I have linked this blog post to the series, and strongly encourage you to read it when you get a chance.)
Now on to the first punch of the political boxing match, this one thrown by Robin Anderson:
Raleigh – Robin Anderson, a Democratic candidate for Commissioner of Labor, had strong words for incumbent Cherie Berry following newspaper reports surrounding conditions at House of Raeford plants throughout North and South Carolina.If this press release is any indication, it is that Robin Anderson is going to run an aggressive campaign for Labor Commissioner. Voters, no doubt, will learn in an aggressive campaign how important the position is and perhaps come to realize that the news media sadly chose not to investigate the above (and related) issues about OSHA failings four years ago when the Wayne Goodwin campaign made a valiant effort to unseat the incumbent.
“The Commissioner of Labor has a moral and legal responsibility to protect the health and safety of workers, and to protect the interests of businesses that play by the rules. The newspaper investigation has brought national attention to North Carolina for conditions that are tragic and deplorable,” Anderson said. “It shouldn’t take an investigation by the media or Congress for the Commissioner of Labor to do her job.”
The investigation by the Charlotte Observer revealed that Commissioner Berry has hamstrung her Department, keeping it from fulfilling its duty to protect the health and safety of the workers of North Carolina through the use of inspections and fines.
The response of Commissioner Berry to the investigation was that her department should work with the Hispanic Community to make sure they are reporting violations.
Anderson countered that enforcement is a critical tool, both as a deterrent to violators and as a means of ensuring that businesses and workers alike understand that violations will not be tolerated.
“It is the Commissioner’s legal obligation to inspect these facilities and prosecute violations. It is obvious that Berry hasn’t done the job. It is time we replace her with someone who will.”
“You can't inspect a factory from inside an elevator.”
Anderson, currently the first female Chair of the State Personnel Commission, has practiced labor and employment law on behalf of individuals and businesses for 18 years. Prior to entering the private practice of law, Anderson served as a law clerk for Senior Justice Louis B. Meyer of the North Carolina Supreme Court. She earned her law degree from the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill, and her B.A. cum laude in Political Science from the University of Massachusetts at Amherst.
For further info contact:
P.O. Box 17389
Raleigh, NC 27619
Wayne's World will publish information about other Democratic candidates for Labor Commissioner as it is received.