Meet Elaine Marshall
Elaine Marshall was born in rural Maryland. Her father was a farmer who served as a volunteer firefighter and community leader, and her mother was the organist in the family’s small rural church for more than 60 years. During her undergraduate years, she spent her summers working in Maryland as a camping director for 4-H, an organization she has continued to support.
After graduation for several years Elaine taught in the public schools and Community Colleges in North Carolina. She also was a small business owner. She later attended Campbell University and earned her law degree. She began her legal career defending victims of domestic violence when few lawyers would do so, co-founded a Rape Crisis Center in rural Harnett County, joined a grassroots lobbying effort to require insurance companies to cover mammograms and pap smears.
Elaine has been active in Democratic politics in North Carolina for over 30 years. She was first elected to public office in 1992 as a member of the North Carolina Senate representing the15th Senate District, and successfully shepherded North Carolina's Marital Rape Bill through the State Senate.
In 1996, she ran for the post of North Carolina Secretary of State against Republican challenger and former stock car racer Richard Petty. Winning by a landslide she became the first woman elected to a statewide executive office in North Carolina history. Elaine has won re-election six times and is only the third elected Secretary of State of North Carolina since 1936.
Since taking office, Elaine has cut the costs of doing business in North Carolina—helping small businesses create jobs and enabling free enterprise and capital formation. Elaine remains committed to making public information transparent and accessible to businesses, investors and individuals. Her efforts have helped make North Carolina one of the most affordable places in the United States to do business.
Elaine has been credited with successful efforts in consumer protection and bringing the office into the technological age by introducing e-commerce, and providing online services for citizens. She has received numerous national and international awards for her work, and her work has been recognized by groups as diverse as U.S. Chamber of Commerce, Common Cause, Underwriter Laboratories, and the Royal Canadian Mounted Police. Elaine has received four honorary doctorate degrees from Meredith College, Campbell University, Lees-McRae College, and the medical University of Moldova.