In a statement Wednesday, N.C. Rep. Jon Hardister, R-Guilford, announced he is running for North Carolina Commissioner of Labor in 2024. This announcement comes after current Labor Commissioner Josh Dobson announced he will not seek re-election.

“It has been a privilege to serve in the NC House of Representatives over the last 10 years, and I am honored to have won election six times,” said Hardister in a press release disseminated Wednesday. “Once I complete the upcoming session of the legislature, it will mark 12 years serving the people of North Carolina in this capacity. My passion for public service has remained strong over these years, and I now believe it is time to elevate my service to a new level.”

Hardister is the second Republican to declare for the race, following fellow N.C. House member Ben Moss, R-Moore, who announced his candidacy for the position on December 20th.

When asked about Moss’s candidacy and the prospect of more Republicans jumping into the race, Hardister said, “Competition is always welcome. Nobody is entitled to a seat on the Council of State. We have to expect to have competition and I am looking forward to the campaign.”

Hardister has served as Majority Whip since 2016, and has served in the N.C. House since 2012. He is the longest-serving and youngest majority whip in state history.

“Ensuring workplace safety, performing timely inspections, and working with industry experts to effectuate sound policies” would be among his top priorities. He also wants to “create a ‘North Carolina Workforce Taskforce’ that will examine ways to bolster our labor force in North Carolina.”

Hardister has faced four GOP primaries during his career and has won each race by substantial margins. His only loss was in the general election, when he first ran for N.C. House in 2010. Hardister faced one of the most competitive re-election campaigns in the 2020 cycle, winning by a mere 4.52%, or 2,458 votes.

“My time in the legislature has provided me with an understanding of how state government works,” Hardister said. “I understand how laws are made, and I know how to collaborate with local, state and federal officials to advance good policy. As the House Majority Whip, I have collaborated with leadership in the General Assembly to advance policies that have resulted in North Carolina being considered one of the best states to live, work and raise a family. This is the same approach that I will bring to the Department of Labor.”

In the press release, Hardister also announced this will be his last term serving in the General Assembly.

The 2024 primary is scheduled for March 5, and the general election will be held on Nov. 5, 2024.