RALEIGH, N.C. (AP) — North Carolina Labor Commissioner Josh Dobson announced on Tuesday that he won't seek reelection in 2024, saying he's served enough time with one term in that elected office following previous gigs as a state legislator and county commissioner.
Dobson, who unveiled his plans at the monthly meeting of 10 statewide elected officials called the Council of State, opens the window for potential replacements to begin building support. Primary elections are just 15 months away.
While only 41 years old, the McDowell County Republican was a county commissioner for two years before joining the state House. He succeeded the retiring five-term Labor Commissioner Cherie Berry by defeating Democrat Jessica Holmes in November 2020 by less than 2 percentage points.
Dobson also said he wouldn't seek any other elected office in 2024.
“When this term is up, I will have served 14 consecutive years in three different offices, and I feel the time is right for me to step out of elected office,” Dobson said. “It’s nothing more and it’s nothing less than that.”
The Department of Labor is in charge of administering the state's labor and workplace training laws and regulations, including wage and quarry rules.
“I’m proud of what we have already accomplished and what we will accomplish over the next two years,” Dobson said.
The public probably best knows Dobson through his photo on inspection certificates within every elevator in the state. Berry began the certificate picture idea, which became a keen political move for the person holding a job on the statewide ballot every four years.
Dobson said until his term ends he would dedicate himself first and foremost to “keep people safe at work.”
“I want to try to help tone down the political rhetoric that frankly doesn’t solve any problem and only adds to the challenges hardworking North Carolinians are facing every single day,” he added. “Finally, I want to have a hand in helping solve the workforce shortage that we have all across our state, particularly in state government.”
Dobson said he has no idea what he'll do after his term ends, but “I still have a passion for public service and for health care policy in particular.”
Dobson served as a chairman of the House appropriations and health committees in his final term in the chamber. He put his name to legislative efforts to expand Medicaid coverage to hundreds of thousands of additional residents.
The labor commissioner's announcement marks what could be dramatic changes within the Council of State come 2025. Democratic Gov. Roy Cooper is term-limited from seeking reelection, and three current Council members — Lt. Gov. Mark Robinson, Attorney General Josh Stein and State Treasurer Dale Folwell — could run to succeed him.