The Labor Commissioner is a state level position in all 50 states. The duties of the position vary from state to state, but their general role is to oversee the administration of state laws relating to labor and the workforce.
| Quick facts about Labor Commissioners
- Appointed by the governor in 46 states.
- Elected in: Georgia, North Carolina, Oklahoma and Oregon
- Oregon’s Brad Avakian is currently the only Democratic, publicly elected labor commissioner.
- Salary range in 2010: $70,000 (West Virginia) to $175,000 (California)
List of Current Labor Commissioners
Elected vs. appointed
As it currently stands, there are three ways in which an individual is able to be selected for the office of labor commissioner: statewide elections, gubernatorial appointment, or appointment by the state legislature.
While the vast majority of the states that do have the statewide governmental position authorize the governor to appoint an individual to the office, there are at least five others who have opted to have public voters select the office holders. These states include Arizona, Georgia, North Carolina, Oklahoma, and Oregon.
The current party breakdown of State Labor Commissioners based on whether they are elected by the general public or appointed by the governor of an individual state shows that:
- Of the 4 publicly elected to office, 3 are Republicans while 1 is non-partisan.
- Governors in the other 46 states are authorized to appoint individuals as Labor Commissioners.
- 23 are Democrats. These state include Arkansas, Colorado, Connecticut, Delaware, Hawaii, Illinois, Iowa, Kentucky, Maine, Maryland, Massachusetts, Michigan, Minnesota, Missouri, Montana, New York, Ohio, Pennsylvania, Rhode Island, Vermont, Washington, West Virginia, and Wyoming.
- The other 23 are Republican appointees. These states include Alabama, Alaska, Arizona, California, Florida, Idaho, Indiana, Kansas, Louisiana, Mississippi, Nebraska, Nevada, New Hampshire, New Jersey, New Mexico, North Dakota, South Carolina, South Dakota, Tennessee, Texas, Utah, Virginia, and Wisconsin.
Two states held scheduled labor commissioner elections in the 2012 electoral cycle: North Carolina and Oregon.
Cherie Berry (R) won re-election in North Carolina and Brad Avakian (D) won re-election in Oregon on November 6, 2012.