Josh Dobson

A portrait of Labor Commissioner Josh Dobson.

Josh Dobson was sworn in as North Carolina’s 18th labor commissioner on Jan. 2, 2021, after serving eight years in the state House of Representatives. Dobson represented the 85th district covering Avery, McDowell and Mitchell counties located in the western part of the state. Dobson is a native of McDowell County and currently resides in Nebo with his wife, Valerie, and his daughter, Kennedy. 

Dobson served as a McDowell County Commissioner from 2010 to 2012 before being appointed in 2013 to the 85th House district seat. Dobson was appointed to replace Mitch Gillespie, who left to accept a position with the McCrory administration. Dobson subsequently ran and won re-election to the 85th district seat in 2014, 2016 and 2018. 

During the 2017-2018 legislative session, Dobson served as chair of the Subcommittee on Student Health for the Select Committee on Safer Schools, chairman of the Health and Human Services Appropriations Committee and chair of the  House Health Policy standing committee.

Additionally, during the 2019-2020 legislative session, Dobson served as a full chair of the House Appropriations Committee and chairman of the House Health Committee. 

“Given the recent political division in our state and country, I look forward to bringing a level of civility and bipartisan spirit in my approach to governing,” Commissioner Dobson said. “With so many workers’ lives at stake, my role here at  the N.C. Department of Labor is a great place to start with that approach.”

Employee safety is Commissioner Dobson’s top priority.

“We want to provide a real service to every business and every worker in the state of North Carolina,” Commissioner Dobson said. “I am excited to continue the collaborative training and education initiatives that have resulted in a continual  decline in our state’s injury and illness rate.”

Dobson earned a Bachelor of Science in social sciences from Gardner Webb and a Master of Public Administration from Appalachian State University. 

The N.C. Department of Labor is charged by statute with promoting the “health, safety, and general well-being” of more than 4 million workers across the state. The laws and programs it administers affect every worker—and virtually every person—in the state.