Jessica N. Holmes is a workers’ rights advocate, policy expert, and fighter for fairness and social justice.
Jessica was born and raised in eastern North Carolina. As a first-generation college student, her professional and personal goals have focused on creating educational and job opportunities for our state’s most vulnerable citizens. She earned her undergraduate degree in Political Science from the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill and a Juris Doctor from the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill School of Law.
Jessica is running to become the next North Carolina Commissioner of Labor to continue her advocacy for workers and use her understanding of rural and urban challenges to create training and job opportunities for all North Carolinians.
Jessica has spent the majority of her professional career as a labor and employment law attorney advocating for workers’ rights to fair pay, benefits, and safe working conditions.
In 2014, Jessica became the youngest commissioner ever elected in Wake County’s history. She has served for two years as chair of the Board of Commissioners, as the youngest person ever in the county’s history to wield the gavel. Her colleagues elected her to the role unanimously. She has a track record of supporting job creation as a county commissioner and attracting businesses with diverse talent. Jessica has been successful with these key initiatives that support workforce development: increasing access to early childhood development programs, advocating for increased education funding across North Carolina and development of career and technical programs in high schools, and leading a campaign to provide capital funding for our state’s largest community college system, Wake Technical Community College.
Jessica prioritizes family-oriented policies during her tenure and is responsible for Wake County’s implementation of a paid parental leave policy, a fair chance hiring ordinance, and supporting a living wage policy for county employees and all school personnel.
Jessica has a stellar record for community engagement, volunteering and giving back to the community. Her work as a member of the Board of Directors and Consultant with the North Carolina Foundation for Public School Children has brought direct support to thousands of children across North Carolina in need of assistance from hurricane relief to school supplies. Her service on the board of Wake Smart Start has resulted in additional early childhood development opportunities for low-income children. She has also served on the board of A Helping Hand, Inc., a nonprofit that supports adults and seniors with disabilities, as well as InterAct of Wake County, which provides domestic abuse and sexual assault services.
In 2018, Jessica received the Distinguished Alumni Award from the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill. Earlier in 2019, she was named as one of UNC School of Law’s distinguished alumni.
Jessica also empowers the next generation of leaders as a lecturer at North Carolina State University’s College of Humanities and Social Sciences. She is a proud member of Alpha Kappa Alpha Sorority, Incorporated, the North Carolina Advocates for Justice and the North Carolina Bar Association, Labor and Employment Law Section.
Selected Community Awards/Recognitions
- UNC School of Law Outstanding Recent Graduate: 2019
- Salute to Champions Award – Sports Shop Radio: 2019
- Bridge of Hope Award Winner – The Hope Center at Pullen: 2019
- Women Teeing Off for a Better Tomorrow – Honoree: 2019
- UNC at Chapel Hill Distinguished Young Alumni: 2018
- Emerald Award – NC Links, Inc. (Raleigh Chapter): 2018
- Our Youth Matters – Community Award: 2017
- Child Care Services Association Public Service Award: 2016
- Community Advocate Award – A Helping Hand Mission, Inc.: 2016
- Everyday Hero Award – Wendell Chapter of Ladies of Distinction, Inc.: 2015
- Gantt-Watt Award – Young Democrats of NC: 2015
- Earl Warren Civil Rights Training Scholar – NAACP Legal Defense and Educational Fund: 2006