Kay Hagan (D-NC-Senator)i
Senate links: Kay Hagan (D-NC-Senate)i
Campaign links: Kay Hagan (D-NC-Senate)i
Kay Hagan Senatorial Candidate North Carolina
Biography of Kay Hagan from Senate.gov
For more than 12 years, Senator Kay R. Hagan has been a champion for North Carolina families, our military and veterans, sound fiscal policy and quality education. She and her husband, Chip Hagan, have lived in Greensboro for more than 30 years, where they raised their three children: Jeanette, Tilden, and Carrie. After 10 years in the North Carolina State Senate, Senator Hagan was elected to the U.S. Senate in 2008 by North Carolinians seeking an active, effective leader who would bring North Carolina ideas and values to Congress.
Giving North Carolinians a Voice in Washington
Since coming to the Senate in January 2009, Senator Hagan has worked tirelessly for North Carolinians. She serves on four Senate committees that are integral to the needs of the state: Armed Services; Banking, Housing & Urban Affairs; Small Business & Entrepreneurship; and Health, Education, Labor and Pensions (HELP).
Hailing from a proud military family, Senator Hagan is committed to maintaining North Carolina’s status as the “most military-friendly state in the nation.” Senator Hagan’s father-in-law was a two-star Marine general, her father and brother both served in the Navy, and her husband, Chip, a Navy Vietnam veteran, attended Wake Forest Law School with help from the G.I. Bill. Senator Hagan has two nephews who have served in Iraq and Afghanistan. Senator Hagan has regularly visited North Carolina military bases and has traveled to Iraq, Afghanistan and Kuwait to meet with North Carolina troops on the ground and to Pakistan to meet with military personnel.
As the Chair of the Senate Armed Services Emerging Threats Subcommittee, Senator Hagan has made it a priority to ensure federal policies work for our active-duty military, veterans and their families. Legislation she cosponsored ensures partisan budget battles will never again interfere with funding for veterans’ health care. In addition, she backed a law to give necessary support to family caregivers of veterans. Along with her North Carolina colleague Senator Richard Burr, Senator Hagan is fighting to get the families who were affected by water contamination at Camp Lejeune the answers they deserve.
Senator Hagan understands that small businesses drive economic growth in North Carolina and across the country. She is committed to creating a better climate for businesses to create jobs and grow. While traveling the state since taking office, Senator Hagan has seen firsthand the determination and innovative spirit of North Carolina’s small business owners. As a member of the Senate Small Business Committee, Senator Hagan has supported legislation to put North Carolinians back to work. For instance, the Hagan-supported Small Business Jobs Act is freeing up lending for North Carolina small businesses to hire new workers and grow.
Since her Senate tenure began, Senator Hagan has been focused on making her office as open and accessible as possible and ensuring constituent service is a hallmark of her office. She has opened five offices across North Carolina to serve constituents – in Greensboro, Charlotte, Raleigh, Asheville and Greenville. She also regularly hosts “Conversations with Kay” in towns across the state. This provides an opportunity for members of the community to talk with her directly about their concerns and get help from her staff to navigate any issues they have with federal agencies. And every Wednesday the Senate is in session, she hosts North Carolinians in her Washington office for “Carolina Coffee” where constituents can meet Senator Hagan and her staff over coffee and Krispy Kreme doughnuts.
Senator Hagan has been a champion for education throughout her career in public service. As a member of the Senate HELP Committee, she is working to include her first piece of legislation, the Financial Literacy for Students Act, into education reform. The bill builds on her work in the State Senate by incentivizing states to incorporate financial literacy into student curriculums for grades 6-12. Hagan is also leading a group of moderate members to improve education in public schools to ensure the United States remains competitive in the global economy.
A mother of two daughters, Senator Hagan is proud that the first piece of legislation she co-sponsored in the U.S. Senate was the Lilly Ledbetter Fair Pay Act, which reestablished a fair rule for filing claims of pay discrimination based on race, national origin, gender, religion, age or disability.
Senator Hagan was also a leader in the successful fight for justice for African American farmers – including more than 4,000 North Carolinians – who were discriminated against when applying for financial help in the 1980s and 1990s. Along with Senator Chuck Grassley (R-IA), she introduced bipartisan legislation to ensure these farmers receive their due settlements, and worked tirelessly with her colleagues to right this wrong for our farmers.
North Carolina Roots, North Carolina Service
Senator Hagan was born in Shelby, North Carolina. A graduate of Florida State University and Wake Forest Law School, she worked at North Carolina National Bank (a predecessor to Bank of America) for 10 years, becoming a vice president in the estates and trust division. She left the bank to spend more time with her children and was an active participant in her Greensboro community, becoming involved in local charities, and shuttling carpools to soccer practices.
Senator Hagan got an early start in public service when she helped her uncle, “Walkin’ Lawton” Chiles, the former governor and U.S. Senator from Florida, paste bumper stickers on supporters’ cars. Senator Hagan and her husband were both active in Guilford County Democratic politics, and in 1992 and 1996, Governor Jim Hunt asked her to run his gubernatorial campaign in Guilford County. In 1998, Senator Hagan ran for the North Carolina State Senate, where she served for 10 years and co-chaired the Budget Committee. She was named one of North Carolina’s “Ten Most Effective Senators” three terms in a row by the non-partisan North Carolina Center for Public Policy Research.
Biography of Kay Hagan from Hagan Senate Committee Inc.
Making A Difference
Kay Hagan knows that you do not make a difference standing on the sideline. Before her decade of service in the North Carolina Senate, she was a vice president at NCNB (now Bank of America), then North Carolina’s largest bank.
While in the state Senate, she has proven to be an effective leader who is not afraid to do the hard work to bridge partisan divides and always put people before politics. Named one of North Carolina’s “Ten Most Effective Senators,” three terms in a row by the non-partisan North Carolina Center for Public Policy Research, Governor Mike Easley calls Kay “one of the smartest, hardest working, most effective senators we have in Raleigh.”
Kay goes to work every day focused solely on what is best for North Carolina – building on what works, eliminating what doesn’t. She has earned a reputation as a no-nonsense legislator who knows good ideas do not come with a party label.
Serving as co-chair of the Budget Committee, Kay believes in keeping track of every penny spent. She puts a premium on accountability and has no tolerance for wasteful spending. Kay has consistently done the hard work of turning out five balanced budgets, and she has made the tough decisions to ensure that North Carolina can continue to invest in quality schools, job training, and middle class tax cuts.
After ten years in Raleigh, Kay is all too familiar with the ways Washington has repeatedly come up short for North Carolina. Today, Washington needs a voice like hers; a voice for the right kind of change, accountability, and an unwavering commitment to keep North Carolina strong and moving forward.
When Washington came up short on health care for North Carolina’s children, Kay led the effort to bridge the gap by increasing coverage through Health Choice for Children.
When Washington failed to provide North Carolina’s National Guard with the equipment they needed to stay safe in Iraq and around the world, Kay supported efforts to pay for handheld radios and military vehicle body armor to keep our Guardsmen safe.
After the devastating hurricanes and subsequent floods that caused extensive damage to western North Carolina in 2004, Washington failed to provide sufficient disaster assistance, so Kay supported state legislation to help the communities hurt by the disaster.
As Washington has run up the national debt, Kay used her position on the Appropriations Committee to make sure North Carolina produced balanced budgets.
When Washington was largely ignoring the rising cost of sending a child to college, Kay pushed for investments in higher education for thousands of students and their families.
Governor Easley touts Kay as North Carolina’s best hope for making Washington help everyday families back home: “She’s been a strong partner in the work we’ve done here in North Carolina to pick up the slack when Washington’s come up short. I know firsthand that North Carolina needs someone like Kay fighting for us in Washington,” said Gov. Easley.
“No one works harder than Kay to find common sense solutions to the issues North Carolina families talk about around their kitchen table,” said Senate President Pro-Tem Marc Basnight.
In Kay’s ten years as a state senator, she helped create innovative tools for economic development, invested in technology and infrastructure to help develop the next century’s medicine and jobs, voted to pass some of the nation’s toughest predatory lending laws, and stepped up to make sure the gaps in underfunded federal homeland security and law enforcement programs were filled.
In education, Hagan wrote budgets that increased teacher pay and expanded early childhood education. Kay believes that the public universities in North Carolina are a crown jewel and an example for the whole country. She increased investments in the state university system to keep pace with increasing demand for the educated workforce that our knowledge-based economy demands.
Before the current housing crisis, Kay passed legislation mandating that the State Board of Education teach “Personal Financial Literacy” to North Carolina’s high school students. “You have to understand debt and money issues in order to get by in the world today,” Hagan said at the time.
Kay recognized that greater financial literacy means expanded access to the everyday opportunities that define the American Dream: paying for college, owning a home, and saving for retirement. Kay worked hard to forge a bipartisan compromise on the issue, and that kind of common sense forward-thinking is illustrative of what Kay takes to work with her every day.
Kay has strong ties to the military. She is the wife of a Vietnam veteran who used the GI Bill to help pay for law school, the daughter-in-law of a two star general in the Marine Corps, and she has two nephews currently in the active military serving overseas, one as a fighter pilot in the Air Force and the other as a Navy SEAL. Hagan’s service in Raleigh has been marked by a deep commitment to keeping North Carolina the most military-friendly state in the country, including increasing pensions for members of the National Guard, expanding educational benefits for service members and their families, and finding new ways to help provide assistance for families when a service member is deployed. She has a personal connection to making sure Washington prepares for the return of this most recent generation of veterans.
Born in Shelby, Kay met her husband Chip in law school at Wake Forest. After her third child was born, Kay left her banking job at NCNB, where she had worked in the estate and trust division and helped people plan for their loved ones’ long term security and care, to focus on being a full-time mom. Like many mothers across North Carolina, she stayed active in the community, raising money for local causes, helping out at the Bell House and the Moses Cone Hospital, volunteering with the Junior League, teaching Sunday school classes and leading a Girl Scout troop.
Kay and Chip raised their three kids in Greensboro and watched as their bipartisanship was put to the test with a son at Duke and a daughter at UNC – Chapel Hill (their oldest daughter went to college in California).
Kay’s commitment to public service started at an early age, putting bumper stickers on cars for her uncle. That uncle, Lawton Chiles, went on to become Governor of Florida, after having served 18 years in the U.S. Senate.
Here in North Carolina, Kay was the Guilford County manager for Governor Hunt’s 1992 and 1996 gubernatorial campaigns.
Building on her civic service and grassroots involvement in politics, Hagan was elected to the North Carolina Senate in 1998 when she defeated a Republican incumbent in a close election the political establishment believed would be won by her Republican opponent.