Cherie Berry will not seek sixth term

Staff Writer

Newtonian Cherie Killian Berry, the longest-serving member of the North Carolina Council of Government, has decided not to seek a sixth term for re-election in 2020. Being the first woman elected member of the council from Catawba County, the Republican official has served five four year terms .

Berry was first sworn in on January 6, 2001 after serving eight years in the North Carolina House of Representatives. She continued winning elections in 2004, 2008, 2012, and in 2016 as North Carolina’s Commissioner of Labor, allowing Berry to set a new record as being re-elected for the most terms.

Different sources suggest that it was her passion for her job that kept Berry in office.

According to the North Carolina Department of Labor website, Berry is quoted as saying, “I want to make the North Carolina work climate as safe as possible.”

Before taking the prestigious position in Raleigh, N.C., Berry was just a hometown girl born in Newton, N.C. On December 21, 1946.

Her parents Earl and Lena Killian named her Cherie after the French term “Mon Cherie,” which translates to “My darling” in English.

She graduated from Maiden High School in 1965, and after attending different colleges, went on to marry Norman H. Berry.

The married couple opened a Maiden business, LGM Ltd., in 1985 that produced spark plug wires for the automotive industry. They were married until Norman’s death in 2006.

During the years before serving as the North Carolina Commissioner of Labor, Berry also served as editor for a weekly newspaper in Maiden and as a state representative for Catawba County.

She created a new movement for women being the first in her position and then with having her picture placed on all the certificates of operation in elevators. “I love all the North Carolina people that I’ve met in the past 19 years” she said. “I love my job – it’s the best job I’ve ever had”

With so many years in office, Berry, now 72, will be forever known as “The Elevator Lady,” to many when she passes her position onto someone else.

She decided to step down because it’s the right time for her. “I’m done with politics, Berry said. “It’s been wonderful, but I’m ready to spend time with my children, grandchildren, and great-grandchildren.”

She said its like the Rita Coolidge song, “I’d Rather Leave While I’m in Love.”

“It’s time to leave when you’re still in love with what you’re doing and there’s no bad memories”, “It’s time to leave with all that happiness.”