Marie Colton

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Marie Watters Colton of Asheville in Buncombe County, North Carolina was a politician who represented the 51st district in the North Carolina House of Representatives from 1978 to 1994. A University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill graduate, Marie Watters married Henry E. Colton. The couple first lived in Chapel Hill and later in Asheville. After her husband, an Asheville City Councilman, declined to run for state office, Marie Colton campaigned and won the seat. During her sixteen years of service, Colton focused on such issues as conservation and environmentalism, billboards, alternative medicine, tax reform, historic preservation, tourism and economic development in western North Carolina, child welfare protection, domestic violence laws, legislative ethics reform, and allowing local school boards to ban corporal punishment.

Colton, a Democrat, was the first female Speaker Pro Tempore of the House, serving in that role from 1991 to 1994. In recognition of her advocacy of women and children's issues, Colton was appointed to the United Nations Commission on the Status of Women in 1994.

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