Charlotte City Council member Braxton Winston has thrown his hat in the ring in the 2024 race as a Democratic candidate for North Carolina’s Commissioner of Labor. 

Republican Josh Dobson, the current commissioner of labor, announced he would not seek re-election.

Winston, who also serves as the Queen City’s mayor pro tem, made the announcement over the weekend on his Twitter page, on a new website, and in an email to supporters.  

He was born at Camp Lejeune while his family was stationed in the Marines before his family moved to Brooklyn, NY. A graduate of Davidson College, Winston is a union stagehand and grip and a member of the Charlotte area sports television and entertainment production community. He also sits on several boards and committees.

In his announcement, he said he wants to make North Carolina the number one state for work and workers. 

Winston was first elected as an at-large Charlotte’s City Council member in 2017 and has served for the past five years, where he said he has “been working for a more equitable, accessible, and interconnected city.”

The announcement surprised some as Winston’s name has been brought up as a possible candidate for the next mayor of Charlotte. 

Winston doesn’t come without his share of controversy. 

He became an activist following the 2016 shooting death of Keith Lamont Scott.

In 2020, he and about 70 other Charlotte residents were arrested for protesting in the aftermath of the George Floyd killing by Minneapolis Police.

Winston also pushed for the successful prohibition of Charlotte-Mecklenburg Police from buying tear gas and other chemical agents during the protests of the Floyd killing. 

City Council voted 9-2 to ban the purchase during the 2020-21 fiscal year.

During that same year, he opposed the city from hosting the Republican National Convention.

Winston told WCNC then, “If you are going to bring something to town that is potentially violent, divisive, then we should ask the people of Charlotte how they feel about that as well.”

In response to Charlotte’s Future 2040 Plan in 2021, he spoke out against single-family housing, tweeting that “Single-family zoning is a tool of segregation. If you are fighting to maintain single-family zoning, you are advocating for segregation. Stop being racist, Charlotte,” 

Most recently, Winston voted against letting CMPD buy ammunition. 

At a Feb. city council meeting, the initial vote for the purchases only garnered four yes votes out of the 11 council members present. The vote passed on the second attempt 6-1.

In an emailed statement to Carolina Journal, Councilman Tariq Bokhari, who was instrumental in securing the votes to approve the item, said Winston put the item up for a stand-alone vote.

“I quickly glanced at what the item was he pulled just as the voting started, and I saw it was police ammunition just as I glanced around the room and saw only 4 yes votes were cast, short of the 6 needed to pass anything,” he said. “In a bit of shock, I turned on my mic and asked in disbelief if this was what we were going to do? As I collected myself, I took a second to explain to my colleagues that this was a state-wide requirement for them to complete firearm training — and emphasized this is the type of training that the council wants them to be doing more of.”

Bokhari said they were “lucky” to get the six votes needed, and Winston ultimately refused to vote for the ammunition.

“If that vote had failed, we probably would have just been made fun of by the media, potentially garnering even national recognition for stupidity,” he said.

Bokhari was grateful that the item passed on the final vote but said that the initial vote was part of a pattern from the council in showing a lack of support for the police.

CJ had reached out to Winston for comment, but he didn’t reply prior to the publication of the article. 

Zach Rounceville contributed to this article.