Commissioner of Labor

The Labor Commissioner protects the rights of working North Carolinians. They make sure that workplaces are safe and that employees get the pay and benefits they deserve. The Labor Commissioner also inspects boilers, elevators, and escalators for safety.

There are 2 candidates for the office of North Carolina Commissioner of Labor.

Jessica N. Holmes (D)
Josh Dobson (R)

All answers are provided in text and audio files for each candidate. To navigate through the questions you may either scroll through this page to read or listen to their answers, or use the links below to jump directly to specific questions.

The primary candidates for the office of Commissioner of Labor were each asked the following questions:

The complete audio of all responses for the Commissioner of Labor’s race:

English:

Spanish:

Question 1: What are your top three priorities?

Josh Dobson (R)

1.) Workplace safety, nothing is more important than keeping the workers of NC safe on the job.

2.) In this time of division in our state and country, I will seek to do all I can as Labor Commissioner to find common group, seek consensus, and focus on what unites us instead of what divides us. I think now more than ever that is needed at all levels of government.

3.) Timely responses to filed complaints

Audio (English):

Audio (Spanish):

Jessica N. Holmes (D)

My top priority is to ensure safe and healthy work environments; this is particularly critical right now in the midst of the greatest public health crisis of our lifetimes. I will work with businesses to be proactive about implementing best practices and to prevent workplace accidents. Also, I will focus on ensuring work place rights. My office will use the full extent of the law to protect workers, resolve wage an hour complaints, and prevent unlawful retaliation with a focus on fairness and equity.

Audio (English):

Audio (Spanish):

Question 2: How will you improve access to the internet in rural and low-income communities?

Josh Dobson (R)

In the NC House I sponsored the Fiber NC Act. Passage of this bill would increase access to the internet in underserved areas. I will continue to advocate for this policy. As an budget chair in the house, I was able to increase the amount of money allocated to the Great Program. This program allocates funds to allow NC to partner with providers to bring internet to low income providers. I will use the platform of Labor Commissioner to advocate for this program.

Audio (English):

Audio (Spanish):

Jessica N. Holmes (D)

Having been born and raised in rural Eastern NC, I understand first hand the need to improve access to the internet in rural and low-income communities. I will support any legislation/policy/initiative intended to address this need and will vote accordingly whenever given the opportunity as a member of the Council of State. I support Governor Cooper's allocation of more than $12 million in grants for 11 rural counties announced in August, 2020 but acknowledge that this initiative does not completely address the current need.

Audio (English):

Audio (Spanish):

Question 3: What can you do in this role to address the widespread poverty and unemployment in the disability community?

Josh Dobson (R)

I have made a commitment with actions not just words in the state house to work with organizations such as NC Association for People Supporting EmploymentFirst and others that hire those in the disability community. I have built these relationships over time. As Labor Commissioner I will continue to foster these relationships to bring employment and address widespread poverty in the disability community.

Audio (English):

Audio (Spanish):

Jessica N. Holmes (D)

First, I would listen to the community to learn how the Department of Labor can be an ally in addressing this problem. Additionally, I support an increase to the minimum wage which is currently what I consider to be poverty wages. I will proactively engage community colleges, which I believe to be best suited to train and re-train our workforce in an ever-changing global economy.

Audio (English):

Audio (Spanish):

Question 4: Would you support a change in state law eliminating subminimum wage?

Josh Dobson (R)

I will listen to any and all policy proposals. Before committing to such a policy change as this I would need to ask a lot of questions from a lot of different stakeholders to understand the benefits, unintended consequences, and long term effects both positive and negative on North Carolina,

Audio (English):

Audio (Spanish):

Jessica N. Holmes (D)

Yes, this is an issue of equity and fairness. I support every worker being paid at least the current minimum wage of $7.25 an hour. Moreover, I believe the current minimum wage should be increased AND equitably applied to all workers.

Audio (English):

Audio (Spanish):

Question 5: What will you do to promote employment of people with disabilities on your staff, in your agency, and through the funds you manage?

Josh Dobson (R)

Governor Cooper signed Executive Order 92 in March of 2019 to increase opportunities for fair wages, employment and careers for people with disabilities. This is an important step in promoting employment for those with disabilities. As a member of the Council of State I will take this Executive Order seriously.

Audio (English):

Audio (Spanish):

Jessica N. Holmes (D)

I will be intentional about not only hiring people with disabilities wherever appropriate within my office but will also encourage businesses to do the same without any discrimination or differentation as it relates to pay, benefits, etc.

Audio (English):

Audio (Spanish):

Question 6: What will you do to ensure employees with disabilities are treated fairly in NC?

Josh Dobson (R)

Accessibility is a main barrier for those with disabilities and the fight for fairness. I will use every authority given to the Labor Commissioner to assure that accessibility to public facilities for the disability community. During the pandemic we have seen that people can work from home efficiently and effectively. I will look for every opportunity to allow those with disabilities if they so desire to work from home as a matter of fairness.

Audio (English):

Audio (Spanish):

Jessica N. Holmes (D)

First, I can set an example within my own office. Secondly, I will use my office to provide guidance to people with disabilities and either help address complaints directly or by referring workers to the appropriate agencies such as the EEOC.

I will use my government relations team to provide best practices and putting forth bills to the General Assembly that strengthens or creates laws to better protect people with disabilities.

Audio (English):

Audio (Spanish):

Copyright © 2020 Access the Vote NC - DRNC