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Biography Kay Hagan

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Kay Hagan Kay Hagan
Kay Hagan
The junior United States Senator from North Carolina.


Kay Hagan Biography

ENG - Kay Ruthven Hagan (born May 26, 1953) is the junior United States Senator from North Carolina and a member of the Democratic Party. Before her election, she was a five-term member of the North Carolina Senate.

Hagan defeated first-term Republican incumbent Elizabeth Dole in the 2008 United States Senate election. She is the second female senator from the state of North Carolina and the first female Democrat to represent the state in the Senate. She is also the first woman to defeat a female incumbent in a Senate election, and her election makes North Carolina the first state to have elected female senators from more than one political party.

Early life and education

Hagan was born in Shelby, North Carolina, to Joe, a tire salesman, and Jeanette (née Chiles) Ruthven, a homemaker. Both her father and her older brother served in the Navy. She spent most of her childhood in Lakeland, Florida, of which her father later became mayor. She also spent summers on her grandparents' farm in Chesterfield, South Carolina, where she helped string tobacco and harvest watermelons. As a child, Hagan engaged in her earliest political activity: placing bumper stickers on cars for her uncle, Florida Governor and U.S. Senator Lawton Chiles. In the 1970s, she was an intern at the Capitol, operating an elevator that carried senators, including her uncle, to and from the Chamber.

Personal life

Hagan's husband, a transaction lawyer, has a net worth between $10.7 million and $40 million. The Hagans have three children: Jeanette, Tilden, and Carrie.

2008 U.S. Senate campaign

After Hagan first decided not to run against Elizabeth Dole, the Swing State Project announced on October 26, 2007, that two independent sources had reported that Hagan would, in fact, run. Hagan made her candidacy official on October 30, 2007. She defeated investment banker Jim Neal of Chapel Hill, podiatrist Howard Staley of Chatham County, Lexington truck driver Duskin Lassiter, and Lumberton attorney Marcus Williams in the May 2008 Democratic primary.

In the November election, Hagan won by an unexpectedly wide margin, winning 53 percent of the vote to Dole's 44 percent—the largest margin of victory for a Senate race in North Carolina in 30 years, and the largest margin of defeat for an incumbent Senator in the 2008 cycle. It has been speculated that the wider-than-expected margin was partly due to anger over negative campaign ads by the Dole campaign in the latter stages of the race (see "Godless" ad below). Hagan trounced Dole in the state's five largest counties—Mecklenburg, Wake, Guilford, Forsyth and Cumberland. She also did very well in the eastern part of the state, actually outperforming Obama in that region.

Political positions

Hagan differs from the Democratic Party on the issue of FDA regulation of the tobacco industry. Hagan opposed the Family Smoking Prevention and Tobacco Control Act, which was cosponsored in the 110th Congress by Barack Obama. Lorillard Tobacco Company is based in her hometown of Greensboro, North Carolina. Hagan was the only Democratic senator to oppose the bill when it came to a vote in the Senate. The bill passed with 79 votes in favor to 17 in opposition, including Hagan.

Hagan at first refused to take a position on the Wall Street bailout bill, but said she opposed it after the Senate passed the bill.

Hagan voted against a resolution to establish a national consumer credit usury rate.

In December 2009, Hagan voted for the Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act. and later the Health Care and Education Reconciliation Act of 2010. She voted against the Stupak Amendment anti-abortion language in the Senate.




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