10/14/04 — Labor commissioner candidate pushes for improvements

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Labor commissioner candidate pushes for improvements

By News-Argus Staff
Published in News on October 14, 2004 1:58 PM

Democrat Wayne Goodwin says there are two reasons why he is running for state labor commissioner:

1. The labor commissioner should be more active in economic development. Goodwin says the current one, Republican Cherie Berry, is lax about that.

2. To improve the safety of North Carolina workers. That is one of the responsibilities of the office, and Goodwin says Ms. Berry is not doing it effectively enough.

Goodwin is a four-term member of the state House of Representatives from Rockingham, which is in Richmond County. He is chairman of the House Occupational Safety and Health Committee.

He and his wife share a law firm, and Goodwin focuses largely on law involving employment.

Goodwin says he has the support of former Wayne County Rep. Phil Baddour.

The labor commissioner should be involved in economic development for the sake of job creation, Goodwin said Wednesday on a visit to Goldsboro. "I know I'll work harder than anybody ever has in this job," he said.

Goodwin noted that Ms. Berry's Labor Department had inspected the West Pharmaceuticals plant in Kinston months before the explosion that killed six people there in January of 1993. He said the inspectors found none of the conditions that later caused the explosion.

The candidate, who is 37, grew up on a farm near Hamlet and attended the University of North Carolina on a Morehead Scholarship. Then he went to the UNC Law School.

In addition to their law practice, he and his wife, Melanie, have what he called a small company that is engaged in commercial development.

Goodwin is a past president of the Richmond County Bar Association. He was named by the North Carolina Jaycees as one of their top five outstanding young men in 1995 for his public service, which includes membership on the board of directors of the Methodist Home for Children in Raleigh.

The Goodwins attend the First United Methodist Church in Rockingham. They have one daughter.