Local Politics

Girls club: Women hold six of 10 statewide offices

Posted November 5, 2008
Updated November 6, 2008

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— Twelve years ago, North Carolina Secretary of State Elaine Marshall became the first woman to hold a statewide elected office.

On Tuesday, women knocked out the "old boys club" and seized control of the Council of State by winning six of the 10 positions that comprise the state panel. The female majority is historic and includes the first women in the positions of governor, state treasurer and state auditor.

All of the women had to prove themselves in a political world dominated by men.

"I had a group of the good old boys look at me and say, 'A woman can't run. A woman can't serve,'" Governor-elect Beverly Perdue said Wednesday, recalling her first legislative campaign in 1986. "One of them had the audacity to say, 'If you serve, you probably wouldn't know how.'"

Marshall said she met with similar resistance when she took on NASCAR legend Richard Petty in 1996 for secretary of state. An editorial cartoon at the time showed a secretary in 1956 and a secretary of state 40 years later.

She said she didn't expect to have so much company at the table so quickly.

"I had dreams (of other women getting elected), but I did not realize it would come in just three elections," she said. "That's so empowering. That's so uplifting. That means that North Carolina has made a huge step forward."

Still, Marshall and the other female Council of State members said they don't want their success slighted by stereotypes.

"Let's talk about what's their mission in life, what they're trying to accomplish, rather than what they look like," Marshall said.

Beth Wood, who upset incumbent state auditor Les Merritt on Tuesday, said the gender breakdown shouldn't even be a point for discussion.

"I haven't even thought about it as much as I've thought about the talent that's going to be on the Council of State – and it just happens to be women," Wood said.

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  • SeaSoldier Nov 6, 2008

    Since all these women are Taxocrats, I wonder if we will see the same level of corruption fron the Taxocrat party as we have seen with the men?

  • showed up late Nov 6, 2008

    beachbum1.... I agree, and all was fine and dandy when they were actually home to run the family.

  • beachbum1 Nov 6, 2008

    You go girls! Lord knows women have run families for 100's of years!

  • EasyGoer Nov 6, 2008

    The Whole Country needs to return their seats to the upright position and hang on. And right as the oxygen mask drops and smacks us in face, the ground in sight coming at us at an incredible speed, we wonder WHY did we get on the plane to start with. Me, I'm scared.

  • DeathRow-IFeelYourPain-NOT Nov 5, 2008

    They almost have enough to make a "Girls of Government" Calendar. Scary thought!

  • For-Better-Or-Worse Nov 5, 2008

    I find the title of the article offensive "Girls' Club"....how about "Women's Club" or "Group of Extraordinary Women".

  • pingmanreturns Nov 5, 2008

    Really fantastic?