Candidate for NC labor commissioner, Jon Hardister, answers our questions

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Name: Jon Hardister

Political party: Republican

Age as of March 5, 2024: 41

Campaign website:

Current occupation: Legislator/Marketing

Professional experience: Member, N.C. House of Representatives; Vice President, First Carolina Mortgage.

Education: BA in Political Science, Greensboro College.

What offices have you run for or held before? Have you had any other notable government or civic involvement? N.C. House of Representatives, Deputy Majority Whip.

What do you think is the biggest issue in North Carolina that you would be able to shape if elected?

Workforce development, workplace safety and maintaining our status as the best place for business will be top priorities.

What do you think is or is not working well under the current labor commissioner? If not, how would you change it?

We need to encourage more students to consider trade skills and vocational education. These jobs pay well and they strengthen our state’s economy.

What can be done to make sure the state is regularly inspecting workplaces for health and safety?

As labor commissioner, I will collaborate with the private sector to identify best practices and ensure that we have inspectors who are fair and professional.

Should North Carolina increase penalties for health and safety violations by employers? Do you believe that would reduce workplace deaths and injuries?

We do not need to increase penalties at this time. The vast majority of companies care about their employees and do not want them to get hurt.

What should be done to address staff vacancies in your agency and in state government as a whole?

As labor commissioner, I will do my best to promote a positive, collaborative work environment. I will also work with the N.C. General Assembly to ensure that our salaries are competitive.

North Carolina has the second-lowest unionization rate in the country. Do you think that should change, and how?

I believe we should maintain our status as a right-to-work state. Employees should not be forced to join or pay dues to a union; it should be a personal choice. This has worked well for businesses and workers in our state.