Carol Mayer Marshall starts organization to help women get elected or appointed to office
Ask Menlo Park resident Carol Mayer Marshall who she is and her answer is swift: “I’m a politician and a feminist and an attorney.”
She’s also a woman of firsts: The first woman Congressional Relations Director in any government agency, representing poverty program under Don Rumsfeld; the first woman Director, VISTA (Domestic Peace Corps), Nixon appointment with Senate confirmation; the first woman Superintendent, San Francisco Mint, G.H.W. Bush appointment with Senate confirmation.
After a number of years working in Washington on both the House and Senate side, Carol came west to attend Boult Law School, but practiced law for just a short time. Instead she gravitated to commercial real estate development.
But politics was never really on the back burner. Her one attempt at electoral office was not successful, but that hasn’t diminished her enthusiasm for helping other women.
Earlier this year she founded WIRE — Women who Identify, Recruit & Elect — to help women get elected or appointed to offices in San Mateo and Santa Clara counties.
“It is a totally bi-partisan effort,” she said. “We do not endorse candidates or raise money. Rather our members recruit qualified women and then offer free campaign consulting advice to those who choose to serve their communities in elective or appointive posts.”
The impetus came when she attended a Renaissance Weekend last January. “Many had taken Hillary Clinton’s defeat personally, almost like a death in the family,” she recalled. “But my attitude was we need to stop beating our heads on a wall and crying. We need to do something. WIRE is the result.”
The organization now has about 70 members. When a woman is identified as a candidate for office, free consulting is provided to increase her odds for success.
“Anyone can join WIRE; we accept men as members but only work with women,” Carol explained. “I’ve learned the hardest thing is finding women to run. That’s why I want to spread the word about WIRE so that we can get more members, and eventually more candidates.
“There are so many districts and towns; we are also putting together a database of elected and appointed positions so that at some point we can just push a button to see upcoming vacancies.”
To join WIRE, email Carol: firstname.lastname@example.org.
Photo by Irene Searles (c) 2017