Welcome Kay Hagan, Candidate for US Senate

Kay Hagan will join us for a live-blog session on Tuesday, April 1 at 5:00 p.m. I am very proud that Kay has agreed to meet with us and I look forward to her answers to our questions. If you haven't had a chance to visit her new web site, give it a look. It's very nicely done and you can see her BlueNC live-blog listed on the calendar.

Thank you, Kay, for agreeing to join us.

Comments

Thanks for the update!

Liberalism as a badge of honor!
No apologies, no excuses.

Liberalism as a badge of honor!
No apologies, no excuses.

Immigration

Senator Hagan, I am tired of hearing repub and dubs using fear mongering to scare us about the illegal immigration issue. Last year a comprehensive immigration bill reached the Senate floor twice. Dole voted against it both times. Would you have voted yes on those bills – or like Dole – voted no

Poverty

Thanks for bringing this up, Blue South - it's an important issue to me. In North Carolina, we’ve done things right. We provided health insurance for thousands of kids after Elizabeth Dole voted no and President Bush vetoed the SCHIP bill. We’ve raised the minimum wage in-state while the federal minimum wage has lagged behind. We’ve created a pilot program which allows folks to borrow money to pay their mortgage if they lose their job.

But the sad reality is that for some people, this is still not enough. We have such pockets of poverty in this state and such communities of wealth. As I’m driving through the state, that’s abundantly clear. We need to do more to increase the number of people in the middle class, and importantly, keep them from falling out of the middle class. In this economy, we need to help families buy homes and stay in them. We need to increase educational opportunities, as we’ve done at our state’s 59 community colleges, and expand access to health care.

One of the committees I’d like to sit on in the Senate is the Health, Education, Labor & Pensions Committee (HELP) which has broad oversight over these issues. They’ve been important to me here in the state Senate, and they will obviously continue to be important to me in the U.S. Senate.

James asked about mercenaries

Mercenaries

There is a growing movement among civil libertarians to stop the practice of using private armed security contractors. Would you support legislation to eliminate the use of armed contractors not only by the military, but by all branches of the federal government?



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Vote Democratic! The ass you save may be your own.

Kosh asked why you chose to run after initially declining

Why did you reverse yourself on running for the U.S. Senate? Did party officials ask you to run because they did not believe an openly gay candidate could win against Dole?



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Vote Democratic! The ass you save may be your own.

Constituent Services

Leslie- A great question. When candidates run for office, there is always so much emphasis – and rightly so – on the issues and specific policy questions. But the thing that is often forgotten is that ultimately, we are elected to serve the people who went out to the polls and cast their votes.

Constituent service has been a landmark of my time in Raleigh. I’m responsive, my staff is courteous and responsible, and importantly, you need not be a big donor to get my attention. I was introduced at the NC Association of Educators event a few weeks ago when I accepted their endorsement, and they said that Elizabeth Dole promised, promised, promised them to be responsive and involved even AFTER the election…you can guess what happened there. I hear that concern about Elizabeth Dole all the time.

jcb wants to know if you're an insider

Are you an "insider"?

The media's shorthand for this race is that you are the insider and Jim Neal is the change agent. Do you agree with this assessment? If not, what areas do you think the US Senate needs to push for more change in? You've had a lot of support from national Dems. Do you think Congress in Democratic hands is doing a good job over the last year?



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Vote Democratic! The ass you save may be your own.

Kosh wants to know if waterboarding is torture

Is waterbording torture?

Is the United States of America ever permitted to torture someone?



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Vote Democratic! The ass you save may be your own.

Health Care

heelpower - I will absolutely work toward the goals of universal coverage. First of all, we are going to have a Democratic President in November, and when we do, we’ll finally be able to address and get results on one of the biggest, if not THE biggest domestic policy issue for millions of Americans.

Since 2001, premiums for family health coverage have increased 78%, and now an estimated 47 million Americans are uninsured. Washington is broken.

We need to change the way we deliver health care by standing up to special interests and negotiating lower drug prices and lower premiums. We need to focus on prevention, chronic disease management and implement cost-saving mechanisms such as electronic records.

I’m not going to sit here and make a declaration that we’ll have universal health care plan over night – we won’t. But if you send people like me to Washington, we’ll get there.

Thanks, Leslie

Always good to have help understanding complicated issues.



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Vote Democratic! The ass you save may be your own.

debates

I agree Robert P – it’s important that voters get to understand where the candidates stand on a whole host of issues. I’ve appeared at joint forums across the state at least 4 times with the other candidates and we just had our first debate on Friday evening. I’ve operated, and will continue to operate, my campaign in an open and accessible manner. I always take questions from guests at my events, and my staff is always following-up with people who ask more questions. I don’t think it’s fair to run for office and just expect people to support you– I know we have to earn it.

My campaign has been approached by only two other organizations that have offered to host debates – WTVD and the Alliance of Black Elected Officials. My campaign is talking about logistics with both (we had actually asked WTVD if they would be interested in hosting their debate specifically focusing on issues of importance to the African American community before the Alliance reached out to us). I do want to debate again.

But the important thing is that the way I operate my campaign – open and accessible to ALL voters– will only continue. That’s why it was important to me to do this live blog, for example.

Military families

captsfufp, this is a very personal issue to me. I come from a military family – my husband is a Vietnam veteran, my father-in-law is affectionately called “The General” as he is a two-star retired General in the Marine Corps, my father served and currently, two of my nephews are in the military and have served overseas.

How can this war continue and how can we be building bridges and schools and roads in Iraq, while we allow our veterans to come home to places like Walter Reed? It’s disgusting and demoralizing and it’s got to change.

In North Carolina, we’ve bought land around bases to protect them from commercial encroachment and importantly, we made sure National Guardsmen got reimbursed for the travel and living expenses that Washington failed to deliver on time. You’re right, this is the most military-friendly state in the nation, and we’ve got to keep it that way. This includes increased funding and programs for Post-Traumatic Stress Disorder, fully funding the GI bill (my husband Chip went to law school on the GI bill), and I support expanding the options for college aid to our military veterans.

Why I'm running

Kosh, I decided to get in this race when Elizabeth Dole voted against the SCHIP program. On a personal level, I couldn’t believe she’d leave kids without insurance and on a professional level, I knew we in the legislature would have to AGAIN pick up where Washington’s fallen short. North Carolina deserves someone who advocates for them first and foremost.

And let me say this – a lot of people have misinterpreted my position on SCHIP, and a lot of people, quite frankly, have said I’m “Elizabeth Dole lite” about this.

If I were in Washington, we would not have had to choose between health insurance for kids and taxing our tobacco farmers. People seem to assume the bill had to be written that way, but it didn’t, so it is a false choice to ask whether I would have supported the bill that was voted on. I would have tried to find an alternative funding stream, I would have made noise and lobbied my colleagues. I believe I would have been effective, but if I were not, and the bill remained as it was, I would have, of course, voted to provide health insurance to our state’s neediest children.

If I understood the bill correctly,

it was smokers/tobacco users who were going to be taxed to pay for the increase. 20% of the population was going to pay for a program benefitting a much broader population. That was unfair and foolish.

McIntyre also voted against it the first time...although he did vote to overturn Bush's veto after he got a lot of heat.

Stan Bozarth

Your relationship with Power Industry/special interests?

I'm wondering about your relationship with special interests, especially in the power industry, in regards to your support of Senate Bill 3 (SB 3). As many in the local media have noted, this bill allows power companies to pass the cost of construction for new power plants - even those built outside the state - onto the taxpayers of North Carolina, before, or even if, such plants never get built or never produce any energy for NC taxpayers.

As someone who has, yourself, received a lot of financial backing from the power industry, do you think your support for SB 3 weakens your credibility when you say that you "believe we need to have an open, transparent system that allows sunshine into the process."

How do you plan to differentiate yourself from Senator Dole on the question of special interests?

Insider?

Jcb, the thing is, 4 years ago Barack Obama was just a state senator from Illinois, and he made it to the Senate by touting his record of accomplishments for working families in Illinois and a message of bringing change and accountability to Washington. That sounds a whole lot more like ME than Jim Neal.

Hello, Senator Hagan

My question would be what are your thoughts regarding Health Care for all Americans?

We would all like universal Health Care, and we would like to know if you think that is attainable.

North Carolina. Turning the South Blue!

North Carolina. Turning the South Blue!

Yo, funluvn, she answered that upthread

I think you will like the answer.



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Vote Democratic! The ass you save may be your own.

I scan not so well, it would seem LOL

But I'm willing to go there again!

North Carolina. Turning the South Blue!

North Carolina. Turning the South Blue!

Thanks Betsy. I like.

Exactly the reality answer I was hoping for.

North Carolina. Turning the South Blue!

North Carolina. Turning the South Blue!

joleykitty wants to know why you want to be a senator

women's rights

I'm new to commenting, so please forgive me.

I wanted to know why you want to be a U.S. Senator. What is driving you to do this? (And please, no cliche responses about people being poor/sad/unable to do things for themselves.)



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Vote Democratic! The ass you save may be your own.

We are nearing the end of our hour

and Kay has answered quite a few of our questions. I will continue to transfer questions to make sure that as many as are suitable are on this thread. There might be a chance for more answers at some other time.

Thank you for joining us, Senator Hagan. We appreciate your time. We look forward to the rest of your answers.



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Vote Democratic! The ass you save may be your own.

Indeed.

Thank you, ma'am, for spending some time with us. And nice picture on your website. You're now officially a blogger!

OLF

When I’m asked about the outlying landing field, I agree with Gov. Easley, who likens it to a gold mine – Virginia gets the gold and North Carolina gets the shaft. It doesn’t create any positive economic impact (jobs) here in North Carolina and actually has a negative impact on our environment – it just doesn’t make any sense to me. A few alternative options have been floated (no pun intended here!) regarding an aircraft carrier off our coast, which would have less impact on the tourism industry, the environment and the way of life for North Carolinians. As a member of the Armed Services Committee, Elizabeth Dole should have taken a leading role on this issue. When you send me to Washington, I will work with the Navy to find an alternate site that has community support and won't harm the environment.

the story that I heard

...was that Dole did take a leading role on the issue; she offered up North Carolina for the shaft as part of some kind of deal with Sen. John Warner. Who knows, Elizabeth Dole spends so much of her time in hiding it's hard to pin her down on anything aside from being absent.

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McCain - The Third Bush Term

well, yea, you got me there!

She did the wrong thing by encouraging the study to happen in the first place. Now that we know it is not required, she is still reluctant to stop the madness.

I have to be thankful that my county is off the RADAR, but dang, it looks like all I did was push it to someone else. Not my intentions at all. I have stated since I realized the numbers, that this OLF was not required. I actually proved utilizing the Navy's supporting documentation that this OLF was not required and then I found the statements about Oceana not requiring an OLF.

Keep those questions coming, Parmea

Every time you ask a question, the person you're talking to learns a heckuva lot about the whole OLF issue.

It sounds like Kay has the same position Perdue has ... and that most people have. If a community doesn't want the OLF, it should not go there.

Which raises one question: Does any community actually want the monstrosity?

I think the answer is emphatically "no."

I believe

that Havelock would support it if they also received more then 2 squadrons.

If I was someone around Havelock, I would be pressing hard the question of Oceana's viability. It has been proven wanting. There is a great opportunity right now for that community to broker a deal with Beaufort, SC to split the planes between those two sites. ALL the planes. Not just the super hornets, but ever last one of them. Maybe even the C-2/E-2 from NS Norfolk.

MCAS Cherry Point and MCAS Beaufort as the Atlantic Fleets US Navy Master Jet Bases! What a HOOOT. Cherry Point uses Bogue Field and Beaufort gets an OLF. And the Navy comes to the Marine Corps, finally! Gads, you gotta love that scenario! The Navy cannot keep their bases viable, but the Corps CAN!

Would require some dualing of runways at Cherry Point. Not sure if that can be done. The original study suggested it, but the Navy then rejected it.

Will you work the GA

to get these two sites off the Navy's RADAR now? The study that is about to stress the families of many for, as the Navy states, 30 months or more when the outcome is already in hand? It is not required and the study has not started?

A preemptive deceleration that the sites are not suitable and should be removed is warranted. Please ask the GA and our governor to support this request of removal from this process before the process starts.

Please.

I thank you for your stand! Still cannot find a single NC politician who feels this OLF is proper or appropriate to be placed in NC!

Please Answer

Senator Hagan, I am tired of hearing repub and dubs using fear mongering to scare us about the illegal immigration issue. Last year a comprehensive immigration bill reached the Senate floor twice. Dole voted against it both times. Would you have voted yes on those bills – or like Dole – voted no

Thanks!

I've got to run to talk with Guilford College and UNC-G students. My first live blogging experience was fun - thanks!
-Kay

You are welcome and thank you!



Robin Hayes lied. Nobody died, but thousands of folks lost their jobs.



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Vote Democratic! The ass you save may be your own.

Please feel free to come back and continue answering

there were some that many of us are hoping you will address.

Congratulations Sen. Hagan, your first live-blog was pretty darn good.

No matter that patriotism is too often the refuge of scoundrels. Dissent, rebellion, and all-around hell-raising remain the true duty of patriots.

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