Cherie Berry, the longest-serving Labor Commissioner in North Carolina history, has endorsed Luke Farley, R-Wake, for her old job.
The news comes a week after incumbent Labor Commissioner Josh Dobson endorsed Rep. Jon Hardister, R-Guilford, in his bid for the office.
Berry, also a Republican, was first elected as Labor Commissioner in 2000 and served until 2021. As the first ever female North Carolina Labor Commissioner, Berry became an icon in North Carolina pop culture after begrudgingly agreeing to have her portrait displayed on the inspection form in elevators. She is often referred to as the “Elevator Lady” or the “Elevator Queen.” Berry has gone viral on TikTok, had a song written about her, and even had a couple of beers brewed in her honor.
On endorsing Farley, Berry said, “Serving as North Carolina Commissioner of Labor was the honor of my lifetime. I spent two decades in the role and I know what it takes to succeed in the job. I’m delighted to give my full endorsement and support to Luke Farley as North Carolina’s next Labor Commissioner.”
Berry said her decision to endorse came down to Farley’s experience.
“Luke has the skills, background, and passion to lead the Department and protect the more than 5 million workers in North Carolina,” Berry said. “With years of experience as a construction and OSHA lawyer, he’s the most qualified candidate in the race. I know his heart’s in this job and that he’ll fight for the fair treatment of all businesses and care for their, and our, greatest asset: the workers.”
Responding to the endorsement, Farley said, “I’m deeply honored to have the endorsement of Commissioner Berry. No one knows the job better than she does. During her tenure, she was a champion of both workers and businesses. She left big shoes to fill, but I’ll fight every day to uphold her legacy of commonsense regulation, impartial treatment of businesses, and care for our workers.”
Farley entered the race in May 2023 and reported having about $54,000 cash on hand in his mid-year financial report, most of which was a personal loan to the campaign.
Hardister, his chief primary opponent, reported about $280,000 cash on hand, much of which was also a personal loan.
Rep. Ben Moss, R-Moore, was also seeking the Republican nomination for Labor Commissioner, but dropped out earlier this month.
Berry endorsed her successor, Josh Dobson, back in 2020 after he successfully won the Republican nomination for Labor Commissioner.