Today is Women’s Equality Day, a day where we commemorate the anniversary of the certification of the nineteenth Amendment. Ninety three years ago women were given the right to vote!
I didn’t realize this until I saw the Facebook post of Nerdy Chick Christy Agner. Christy is an advocate for women in government. We interviewed her about a year ago, and you can check out that interview HERE. At the time of her interview, we asked her to share a favorite achievement. She discussed helping NC Secretary of State Elaine Marshall win her first statewide election. Christy gave us such a great and thorough answer, that we decided to share it as it’s own separate post at another time. Now is that time.
NCR: What is one of your favorite achievements that you can credit to being a nerdy chick?
Christy Agner: My first ‘paid’ campaign job was for Elaine Marshall who was the first women to be nominated by a North Carolina Political Party as a statewide candidate and who went on to be the first female elected statewide in NC (1996.) She and her husband ran the statewide campaign with 3-4 of us by her side. Elaine was just a regular woman who worked hard and had a desire to better her community. None of the political insiders thought she could win that race. The team had little money, our opponent was WELL known and funded (Richard Petty, the former NASCAR driver), and folks really didn’t know what a ‘Secretary of State’ did.
On a shoestring, we traveled, connected with local newspapers, raised money $25 at a time and spent hours on the phone. To raise funds I had to look at lots of lists, target folks from professional, community and political circles who might be interested in making a donation. I had to find phone numbers and addresses in the days when very little was ‘out there on the Internet.’ I remember our first big fundraiser, which was a hometown event and the local ladies really wanted to add the ‘special touch’ of hand-addresses all the invitations versus just running labels. Problem was an approaching hurricane surprised us all and the invitations were spread across the city at these ladies’ homes. I spent the last hours of that approaching hurricane gathering as many invitations as possible and packed up my car to drive 45 minutes home before Hurricane Fran hit (and yes that was a really dumb move as the trees were swaying all over the dern road.) The next day, since we had no power, my roommate and I finished addressing and stamping nearly 500 invitations and got them to the central post office which was still open. Our friends were grilling out and having hurricane parties. I was getting political fundraising invitations in the mail. Now that’s nerdy!
Polls weren’t as prevalent in those days. Literally on election night the only thing I knew was that the opponent’s campaign had outraised my efforts 5 to 1. Boy was I disappointed in myself that I didn’t put my candidate in the best possible opportunity to succeed. I watched campaign returns for hours trying to understand where the votes were going to go. At the end of election night, Elaine Marshall made history and did it with a wide margin. Her presence changed everything once she got ‘to the table.’ I was honored to raise funds and grassroots support for her because I believed she would make a difference in my life and those women who came behind me. She has made that difference.
What a great story to share on Women’s Equality Day!
In thinking about Women’s Equality Day, and the 50th anniversary of the March on Washington, we’ll be featuring some of Coretta Scott King’s quotes later this week. But I can’t resist sharing one of those with you now.
If American women would increase their voting turnout
by ten percent, I think we would see an end to all of the
budget cuts in programs benefiting women and children.
I agree. One organization that is working to increase women’s voter turnout is Lillian’s List, NC. They are currently running a special membership deal. You can read more about Lillian’s list in Christy’s original interview, or visit their website HERE.
By the way, there are still a few hours left to enter to win FREE CHOCOLATE. Think Happy!