Saying the "timing is right," Linda Coleman, the state's personnel director, announced her candidacy for lieutenant governor Thursday.
"My focus will be clearly directed at improving our public schools, strengthening our work force training programs in our community colleges and making critical investments in our research universities," Coleman said in a statement.
Coleman, 62, served three terms in the state House and is a former chairman of the Wake County Board of Commissioners. In her announcement, she highlighted her work on raising the state's minimum wage and advocating for state employees.
She is the first announced Democratic candidate for lieutenant governor after current office holder, Walter Dalton, decided to run for governor. Three Republicans are vying for their party's nomination.
Coleman pledged to run an aggressive grassroots campaign and hired Democratic consultant Brad Crone.