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Marie Watters Colton Receives High NC Honor

Colton Kelischek, son of Laird Pelzer Green, is guiding his great grandmother’s wheelchair as Governor Roy Cooper presents Marie Colton, 95, an award honoring her lifetime of service to the state of North Carolina. Colton was elected the first female Speaker Pro Tempore in 1991 and remains on the books as the highest ranking female in North Carolina House history. She served from election in 1978 through 1994, when she retired.

The Governor praised Marie Colton, calling her an “extraordinary lady” whose contributions to this state have been amazing. He remembers her well in Raleigh and her serving as the first female Speaker Pro Tempore of the House from 1991 to 1994. He recognized her advocacy of women’s and children’s issues and her concerns on issues of conservation and environmentalism. Cooper laughed as he remembered Marie Colton dressing down Martin Nesbitt’s attire one day, saying to him, “Don’t you EVER come into this House looking like that again!” With that Governor Cooper gave Marie Colton the title of “Queen of Couth.” Rep. John Ager spoke of having met Marie Colton at the Chapel of Warren Wilson many years ago with his father Jamie Clark, and remembers her over many years in close connection and warm friendship with his family and knows her as one “fantastic woman.”

The evening continued with Rep. Brian Turner speaking and his hopes for the future, as he launched his kickoff campaign. He realizes that a lot needs to be accomplished in many areas, such as domestic abuse, the opiod crises and teacher compensation. He spoke about the need first of all is to show up, but then secondly the need to take action. He believes in sitting down and listening and learning. One must give careful consideration before moving forward. He feels strongly that “we must be good stewards of our land and environment.”

Governor Cooper is staying in Western North Carolina for the next few days at the Western Residence with the First Lady Kristin. Some of his cabinet will be joining him in the area. He is planning to spend time discussing issues facing the Western part of the state in particular and spoke about his concern over the safety of students in schools.

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