One of my goals for this blog is to introduce readers to an array of feminist, pro-woman or otherwise progressive people who are worth knowing. Each Tuesday I plan to introduce my “Lady Crush of the Week” with a brief biography and an explanation of why you should know her/him.
This week I’m lady crushing on N.C. Secretary of State and U.S. Senatorial Candidate Elaine Marshall
Who She Is: Secretary Marshall was the first woman elected to a statewide office in N.C. Though she was born in Maryland, Marshall attended law school at Campbell University in N.C. As an attorney she represented women who were survivors of domestic violence. As former N.C. Senator, Marshall fought for insurance coverage for pap smears and mammograms and for making healthcare services available to North Carolinians in rural areas.
She is a strong supporter of Roe v. Wade and has promised to work to repeal the Hyde Amendment, which denies the use of federal funds for most abortions. Marshall is in favor of equal federal benefits for same-sex couples, repealing the Defense of Marriage Act and repealing the military’s Don’t Ask, Don’t Tell policy.
Why I’m Lady Crushing: The N.C. Democratic Primary runoff is TODAY and Marshall is the candidate who is prepared for the job and ready to defeat Republican Sen. Richard Burr in November. Marshall won the May 4th primary with 36 percent of the votes (She needed 40 percent to avoid a runoff) while her Democratic runoff opponent Cal Cunningham won only 27 percent.
I had the privilege of meeting Marshall when I attended an NAACP sponsored senatorial candidate forum on April 13, 2010. The forum wasn’t a very enlightening event because most the candidates had very similar answers and the short time limits didn’t give them the ability to show much personality. Afterward, however, I was wandering around the candidates information tables, asking questions for a reporting class and Marshall approached me.
Our conversation was brief but the one thing I remember her saying was that when she was in law school and thinking about entering politics and being Secretary of State that she had very few women role models and that she wanted to be someone who girls could look up to and know that they too could achieve.
As a young woman who plans to be lawyer and one day go into politics, I couldn’t help but think that many of my future career opportunities are available because of women like Elaine Marshall. Woman who were willing to go there and do it first so that women like me could have it a little bit easier.
I would never encourage anyone to vote for a woman candidate simply because she is a woman. But when it comes down to a matter of two excellent candidates with very similar positions, you really have to consider what electing this person will mean in the bigger picture. Marshall has successfully shown that she is a strong candidate, a proven leader and a glass ceiling smasher.
Now, GO VOTE!
“When people say it can’t be done, I say get out of the way of those who are doing it.” -Elaine Marshall