By Peter Vankevich

CharlesMeekerCharles Meeker, the former mayor of Raleigh with long-time connections to Ocracoke, is planning a run for the North Carolina labor commissioner.

As of now, no other Democrat has filed for this office.

It is likely that he will run against current commissioner Cherie Berry (R), who is expected to seek a fifth four-year term.

He has already filed his statement of organization for a candidate committee at the state elections board and said in a telephone interview that he would make a formal announcement some time in mid-September.

If everything goes according to plan, he will be on the 2016 primary ballot in May, and, if successful, in November which will be a Presidential election.

“This race should attract interest due to the department’s failure to do the job,” Meeker said.

But he is concerned that if the current voter restrictions are still in effect, there could be a loss of 3 to 5 percent voting.

“The bottom line is if you do not have a card, it will  be difficult to vote,” he said. Information on acceptable identification cards can be found by clicking here .

As for this elected position, Meeker said, the Department of Labor hasn’t been active in the recent years.

“I want to work on worker safety through better training and education, inspection of work sites and having the correct job classifications for worker so they can be paid properly,” he said. “It is the absence of technical compliance of state and federal labor law that this department needs to step it up and it is important that businesses that do comply receive fair competition for everyone, and not those that do not pay benefits and have lower costs.”

He intends to travel throughout the state and estimates it will take several hundred thousand dollars to fund a state-wide campaign.

Meeker (D), 65, served as mayor of Raleigh from 2001-2011, winning five two-year terms. He decided against running for a sixth term.

“I felt 10 years as mayor was enough,” he said.  Previous to that, he served several years on the Raleigh City Council.

He is the son of the late former Ambassador to Romania and legal adviser at the State Department, Leonard C. Meeker and his first wife, Christine Halliday. His step-mother is Beverly Meeker of Ocracoke.

A graduate of Yale University (1972) and Columbia Law School (1975), Meeker is long-time partner in the Raleigh-based law firm Parker Coe.

Meeker has spent a lot of time on Ocracoke with his family since he was a child and has visited the island every year since 1960.


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