Under the Dome

Meeker for labor commissioner?

Former Raleigh Mayor Charles Meeker delivers the state-of-the-city address in 2011. Meeker is considering running as a 2016 Democratic candidate for NC Labor Commissioner.
Former Raleigh Mayor Charles Meeker delivers the state-of-the-city address in 2011. Meeker is considering running as a 2016 Democratic candidate for NC Labor Commissioner. Staff file photo

Former Raleigh Mayor Charles Meeker is considering running as a 2016 Democratic candidate for NC Labor Commissioner.

Meeker said this week that he is strongly considering challenging Republican incumbent Cherie Berry next year. He said he’ll decide later this year.

Meeker, a lawyer, served as mayor of Raleigh for a decade. He did not seek a sixth term in 2011.

As labor commissioner, Meeker said he’d focus on issues that deeply affect the state’s workers and are central to the agency’s mission.

“The labor commissioner needs to tend to the business of making sure workers are properly classified and are safe at their worksites,” Meeker said.

The News & Observer has highlighted labor problems over the last year, including the illegal practice of companies treating workers who should be employees as independent contractors to save money. Berry has repeatedly declined to the N&O’s requests to discuss her department’s role in ensuring workers are properly classified and paid.

On Sunday, a N&O report showed how Berry’s office is not counting some worker deaths in annual public releases.

Berry has said she plans to run for re-election in 2016.

Meeker has previously announced he was considering a run for governor in 2016. He said this week that the governor’s office seemed out of reach.

NC Attorney General Roy Cooper, a Democrat, and Durham lawyer Ken Spaulding are both planning challenges to Gov. Pat McCrory in 2016.

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