Elections » Candidate Questionnaires

Kay Hagan

Candidate for U.S. Senate

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Name as it appears on the ballot: Kay Hagan
Date of birth: 5/26/53
Campaign Web Site: www.kayhagan.com
Occupation & employer: Senator, North Carolina Senate



1. What do you see as the most important issues facing North Carolina and the nation? If elected, what are your top three priorities in addressing those issues?

I’m running because I think Washington is broken, and North Carolina families are frustrated that politicians like Elizabeth Dole are taking care of special interests rather than folks in our state. I am a proven leader, and I know how to get results for North Carolina. When I’m in the U.S. Senate, I’ll be focused on developing a new energy policy that gets gas prices under control and invests in alternative energy, creating new jobs here at home. I’ll also take the lessons I’ve learned from balancing the budget in North Carolina to restore some fiscal discipline to the budget process in Washington. We also need a new economic framework that makes college affordable, finally takes care of our veterans and makes health care for working families a priority once again.

2. What in your record as a public official or other experience demonstrates your ability to beeffective in the U.S. Senate? This might include career or community service; be specific about its relevance to this office.

I am in my tenth year as a state Senator. As Budget and Appropriations Co-Chair, I worked to cut wasteful spending and balance the state budget every year, while still prioritizing investments in schools, job training and middle class tax cuts. I have been a strong supporter of funds for veterans and the military, and when the federal government was holding up payments to reimburse North Carolina National Guardsmen for travel and living expenses, I was the one to cut through the red tape and get the money to the troops. I also introduced and passed common sense legislation that would require high school students to learn financial literacy so they can pay for college, own a home and save for retirement.

3. How do you define yourself politically, and how does your political philosophy show itself inyour past achievements and present campaign platform?

I am a Democrat. I support traditional Democratic issues like expanding access to education and health care, but my record shows that I am definitely an independent thinker and I’m not afraid to stand up to the leadership in my party, or work across party lines to get things done. I am a proven leader, and my first priority in the U.S. Senate will be the people of North Carolina, not any special interests or political ideology.

4. The Independent’s mission is to help build a just community in the Triangle and North Carolina. Please point to a specific position in your platform that would, if achieved, help further that goal.

Elizabeth Dole has not been working for the people of North Carolina. I am a proven leader who will go to Washington to stand up against the special interests and get results for folks here at home. I believe that getting Elizabeth Dole out of the U.S. Senate and sending me to get the job done will build more just communities all across North Carolina.

5. Identify a principled stand you might be willing to take if elected that you suspect might cost you some popularity points with voters.

I believe the Administration was the bad actor when they asked the telecoms for information post-9/11. We must hold the Administration accountable and prevent them from doing this in the future, but we need to move forward and keep America safe. I am a pragmatic person, and I will support a one-time immunity provision for the telecoms, so long as we pass a FISA bill that is straight forward and keeps us safe while ensuring the rule of law, accountability and court oversight.

6. If these issues haven’t been addressed above, would you please comment on:

a. The U.S. has been fighting the war in Iraq for five years. Was the decision to invade a mistake? What should our policy in Iraq be today? Should we base substantial military forces there for the foreseeable future? Start to withdraw now, or if not now, according to a plan (i.e., on a timetable)? Which, if any, of the congressional resolutions introduced so far on Iraq do you support?

The decision to invade Iraq without a plan, without enough troops, and without proper equipment was mismanagement of the highest order. I support a responsible withdrawal so that we can re-focus our national security efforts on defeating al Qaeda, improving our country’s reputation around the world and rebuilding our military strength. We need to insist on accountability from the Iraqi people, and we need a diplomatic surge to bring stability to the region and restore America’s reputation around the world.

b. Evaluate the war in Afghanistan. What troop levels and funding should be allocated to fight that war? What is our goal there, in your view? What should our policy be? What legislation should be introduced to address those issues?

We need to re-focus our national security efforts on defeating al Qaeda in Afghanistan. We need to end the war in Iraq so we can send more troops and funding to fight terrorists where they actually exist.

c. Economic inequality in the U.S.: Is a major problem? If so, what steps do you advocate to shrink the gap between rich and poor?

Because of increasing costs for health care and gasoline, middle class families are struggling to pay the bills and make ends meet. I will pursue policies that help lift up low income workers and sustain the middle class. I will oppose trade deals without enforceable labor and environmental standards, and I will eliminate tax breaks for corporations that send jobs overseas. I will work towards health care for all Americans and policies that will reduce gas and energy costs. I also believe that supporting alternative and renewable energy sources will help us to create jobs for skilled and unskilled labor.

d. Universal health care: Do you support a program of universal health insurance? If so, is your model for it closest to Sen. Clinton’s? Sen. Obama’s? Some other plan? Or do you favor a free-market approach like Sen. McCain’s?

I will absolutely work toward the goals of universal coverage, and when I am in the U.S. Senate, I look forward to working with a Democratic president to stand up to special interests and negotiate lower drug prices for lower premiums, focus on prevention/chronic disease management, and implement cost savings mechanisms such as electronic medical records.

e. Infrastructure: Should the U.S. undertake new investments—and if so, how much?--in highways, bridges, transit systems, water and sewer systems and the like?

I absolutely support increased investments in infrastructure.

f. There has been an increase in unemployment, a rise in home foreclosures, a spike in food and fuel prices, a huge federal deficit, and other troubling economic indicators. What do you see as the primary sources of our current economic problems? What measures should Congress use to resolve address them? How would you begin to reduce the federal deficit? What are some of the possible negative consequences of your proposed solutions?

In the state Senate, I’ve championed programs that deliver jobs to rural areas and those who have been put out of work after bad trade policies shipped their jobs overseas. We need a new economic framework that allows us to invest in renewable energy, which will help drive gas prices down, and create good, clean jobs right here in North Carolina.

g. Trade: What changes in trade policy do you advocate, if any?

NAFTA and many other trade agreements were badly written and lack enforceable labor and environmental standards that allow our businesses to compete on a level playing field. I won’t back any trade deal that hurts North Carolina families and businesses.

h. The falling dollar: The euro and the dollar were equal not long ago. Now, one euro costs $1.50. What’s the problem, and what should be done to address it?

We need to restore fiscal discipline so we aren’t borrowing billions of dollars from foreign countries such as China, and we need to work with China to end their practice of currency manipulation.

7. What is your position on capital punishment?

I support the death penalty. However, I have supported a moratorium so we can make sure that the system is fair and accurate.

8. What is your position regarding LGBT rights? Please address whether gay marriages or civilunions should be made legal in North Carolina or as a matter of national policy; also, whether sexual orientation and identity should be added as a protected class under federal or state anti-discrimination laws.

I believe that marriage is between a man and a woman, and this is fundamentally a state issue. North Carolina has a law that defines marriage this way, and I see no reason to change that. However, I take a back seat to no one when it comes to equal opportunity and fairness and opposing any form of discrimination on housing, workplace and hospitals.

9. Do you support women’s reproductive rights, including the “right to choose” as set out by theU.S. Supreme Court in Roe v. Wade?Should the nation’s labor-organizing laws be strengthened to better protect workers’ rights? If so, how?

I fully support a woman’s right to choose, and I am proud to have been endorsed by EMILY’s List. I believe abortion should be safe, legal and rare, and those decisions should be private, made by a woman in consultation with her doctor. I also support a worker’s right to join a union, and I would vote for the Employee Free Choice Act.

10. Where do you stand on retroactive immunity for the telecommunications companies that engaged in domestic surveillance without a warrant?

At a time of grave national security concerns, the Administration asked the telecoms for information and they responded. The Administration was the bad actor here. We must hold the Administration accountable, but we need to move forward and keep America safe. Washington is broken, we all know that, and arguing over who did what isn’t going to help prevent another terrorist attack. I support a one-time immunity provision for the telecoms, so long as the bill we pass going forward is straight forward and keeps us safe while ensuring the rule of law, accountability and court oversight.

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