Local News

N.C. Women Make Political History On Election Night

Posted November 7, 2000 6:00 a.m. EST

— Women made political history in North Carolina Tuesday night. Two women were elected to the District Court in Johnston County, and they are breaking down barriers.

After 20 years as a prosecutor, Evelyn Hill will be the first woman in Wake County to be elected superior judge.

"When people come into our courtrooms, it is very important they see people on the bench who reflect them," she says. "People who may have had similar experiences, and up until now, women, girls and men, coming into courts, have not had the benefit of seeing a woman on the Superior Court bench.

Attorney Jackie Lee also made history Tuesday. She and Marcia Kaye Stewart became the first women elected to the District Court bench in Johnston County.

"None of the women candidates ran, saying that we need a woman on the bench," she says.

Both women say that what counts in the end is not making history, but being fair judges.

"I don't have an agenda out there. I'm committed to being fair," Lee says. "I think the people will receive us as like, 'Look, they are doing a good job.'"

"People nowadays expect women to be doctors or surgeons, expect women to be lawyers and judges, so it is not an unusual thing," Hill says. "They will probably be more surprised that it has taken this long."

There are 100 Superior Court judges in North Carolina, six of them are women. There are 217 District Court judges, 54 of them are women.