09/21/04 — Secretary candidate stumps for others

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Secretary candidate stumps for others

By Matt Shaw
Published in News on September 21, 2004 2:03 PM

N.C. Secretary of State Elaine Marshall came to Goldsboro on Monday night to encourage the Wayne County Democratic Women to vote this fall and not just for her.

"In 45 days we'll have the election of our lifetimes," she said. "And you know who's going to make a difference? Women."

Mrs. Marshall, the first N.C. woman ever elected to statewide office, urged the club members to rally friends and co-workers for Democratic candidates, including Gov. Mike Easley, U.S. Senate candidate Erskine Bowles and the John Kerry - John Edwards presidential ticket.

Elaine Marshall

Elaine Marshall

She had been energized by Edwards' "town hall rally" Monday afternoon in Raleigh, she said. "He was speaking plainly to the people, his message loud and clear."

President Bush has pushed "a misleading, miscalculated agenda" on the American people for four years, she said.

She cited the investigation into Halliburton, a company formerly headed by Vice President Dick Cheney, which has made billions in no-bid contracts. Why weren't payments suspended until the investigation was completed? she asked.

She also said that Bush has "a terrible track record on women's issues."

Women could make the difference in North Carolina's presidential vote. Some recent polls have shown Bush and Kerry nearly tied, or with the president holding a small edge, she said.

"If we can get young people to vote, John Kerry and John Edwards will win. If we can get young people and women to vote, it will be a great, great victory," she said.

She did not mention her opponent, Republican Jay Rao of Charlotte, but she did speak at some length on improvements she has made while in office.

The previous secretary of state allowed a 100-day backlog of paperwork to build up, she said. Today there's no backlog, and the secretary of state's office processes all paperwork within three days, she said. On-line requests are handled even quicker.

The N.C. Secretary of State's office now has a national reputation for its assistance to business people, she said. "They used to say that Delaware was the Cadillac of incorporations, but some people say we're as good, if not better."

The office also is a law enforcement agency protecting consumers, investors, and charitable givers against securities fraud and financial scams.

Ms. Marshall spoke in support of other Democrats seeking state office, including judicial candidates whose party affiliation is not listed.

She named Supreme Court Associate Judge Sarah Parker and Court of Appeals judicial candidates Linda McGee, Alan Thornburg and Wanda G. Bryant as experienced Democrats who deserve voter support.

She also noted that four of eight candidates for Supreme Court Associate Judge Bob Orr's seat are Democrats. They are Ronnie Ansley, Betsy McCrodden, Fred Morrison Jr. and James A. Wynn Jr.

Ms. Marshall, 58, was born and grew up in Maryland, earning her bachelor's degree from the University of Maryland in 1968. She was a teacher in the Lenoir County School System and for Lenoir Community College and Johnston Technical College before she returned to school herself.

She received her law degree from Campbell University in 1981 and was a practicing lawyer in Lumberton. She often represented women who were victims of domestic violence. She's been admitted to practice before all levels of court, up to and including the U.S. Supreme Court.

She served in the N.C. Senate from 1993 to 1994 before running for the secretary of state office. She defeated NASCAR legend Richard Petty. She was re-elected in 2000.

She is married to Bill Holdford, a Wilson lawyer who attended Monday's dinner meeting, and has five step-children and seven grandchildren.

For more information, go to www.elainemarshall.com.