Cherie Berry was the first Republican to win a Council of State seat when she was elected Commissioner of Labor 12 years ago. The Department of Labor is the state agency for OSHA and is responsible for safety inspections in businesses and levying fines for violations. The department also has sponsored training programs for manufacturing jobs. This year Commissioner Berry will face a Charles Meeker, a former Raleigh mayor who is the Democratic nominee. Berry is a Catawba County native and was employed at Inform Inc. She and her late husband owned an automotive aftermarket business that that moved to Catawba County from Michigan. The Labor Department is one of the state’s smaller agencies—but important to manufacturing.