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Marshall says DNC could boost NC mountains

Elaine Marshall, a Democrat, is running for a fifth term as North Carolina's secretary of state. She spoke with the Hendersonville Lightning during a campaign swing through Hendersonville recently.

What's the state of the Democrat Party in North Carolina?
The Democratic Party is certainly in a state of anticipation about the election, excitement about the Democratic convention. With Gov. Perdue leaving without much notice, (Lt. Gov.) Walter Dalton certainly made a very very excellent run for the governor's nomination, had strong competition from Bob (Etheridge). I'm looking forward to a very good campaign on behalf of the president and on behalf of Walter Dalton and the rest of the Democratic ticket and the Council of State, which is what I'm involved in.

What difference does the Democratic National Convention make?
It's going to be huge. It's going to be huge for Western North Carolina because when folks come here they want to know a lot about the state that they're visiting. I've been to other conventions and you get a flavor for the place where you're visiting. Writers will come. There will be so much international press, as they see and experience NASCAR, as they see and experience barbecue, the barbecue wars that we have in North Carolina, they want to know the flavor of the place where they are. Families plan their vacation around going to convention for a few days and staying, so I think the mountains will get a lot of attention, especially because it'll be dreadfully hot come September. The coast will also get attention, but it is an opportunity for North Carolina people and businesses to showcase what we're all about.

So we can see some tack-on days?
Absolutely. Just the people that only come to the convention are going to eat meals, they're going to buy stuff, because the convention is a night-time activity, so they've got all day to visit museums and eat at restaurants, do whatever they want to do.

How does it help Obama and the down ticket?
It does because it brings attention on what we're doing here in North Carolina. There'll be what, 70,000 people (at Bank of America Stadium), for the folks in North Carolina and South Carolina to come see the president of the United States. It's not like you can reach out and touch him but it's pretty daggone close to that. It's such an exciting feeling that it's going to energize the voters of this state, the campaign volunteers of this state. If there's ever a chance to put real meaning into what you're doing, it's almost a personal experience.

Isn't there a dilution of support or can the 2008 spirit be rekindled?
I think that will be rekindled. I went to a Women for Obama event and I was delighted. I only knew a few; there were a lot of new people, women in particular. They've seen the overreaching, both in Washington and in North Carolina about women's rights, women's opportunities, laws involving women and they are getting energized.

How do you handicap the 11th congressional district?
I don't have the best feel for where the lines are. I know that (Democratic nominee) Hayden (Rogers) has been the face of constituent service, so that ought to put him in a good position.

Why re-elect Elaine Marshall?
I'm a former small business owner and I understand creating business is the essence of bringing us through this economic recovery. We have cut down the red tape to getting something started to next to nothing. When somebody says you can't change the ship of state, we've done that. It's all a matter of leadership, personal engagement, giving employees the power to understand what they do, how we support the economy of this state. When I came here, they didn't understand that capital is created through our office, capital flows through our office. ... We're the honest third-party broker that holds people's documentation and in some cases the regulator if somebody oversteps their boundaries. I'm real pleased with the website services. We've made things open and transparent; you do not find that in every state. If you do there's an access fee and then there's a click fee, they're just profit centers. I really believe that public records that the public had paid to put there should be open and free to everybody. What government does should be transparent.