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 a member of the Senate Armed Services Committee, 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.