Local Politics

Marshall built career on fighting for families

Posted October 22, 2010 4:37 p.m. EDT
Updated October 22, 2010 6:21 p.m. EDT

— North Carolina Secretary of State Elaine Marshall first developed an interest in public office in her hometown of Lillington.

Former U.S. Sen. Robert Morgan, now a Lillington lawyer, served as Marshall's mentor after she completed law school. He said he quickly recognized her potential to succeed in politics.

"She didn't give up. She was tenacious, and I noticed the same thing about her when she went to the state Senate. To put it in common language, she was a scrapper," Morgan said recently.

"You can tell by her campaigning and also what she's done as secretary of state. She's tenacious. Whatever she believes in, she will fight for," he said.

Longtime friend Jennifer Walker said one of Marshall's top priorities always has been to fight for families.

"I can remember her fighting to remove an antiquated law off the books of Harnett County of how men could treat their wives," Walker said.

The two women became friends when they worked together in the 1970s to make life better for families who had fallen on hard times.

"When we are in a position to help families and to help people, she will use that expertise," Walker said. "It might not be popular. It may not be what the good ole boy network wants, but Elaine will stand up."

Walker said she's not surprised Marshall is making a run at the U.S. Senate.

"I kept saying, 'Elaine, you ought to go for the top,'" she said. "I'm not going to tell you what I thought the top was, but I said, 'You ought to go for it.'"