11/05/11 — Hagan alert: Where oh where has our senator been? Certainly not keeping promises.

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Hagan alert: Where oh where has our senator been? Certainly not keeping promises.

When election time rolls around, all of a sudden, North Carolina politicians figure out that there is a highway that leads out of Raleigh -- and it does not just go to Charlotte, Winston-Salem or Greensboro.

That is when they come to stump in eastern North Carolina and promise to work hard to remember the needs of those who live outside the metro areas.

And then, we hear them ... crickets ... as the needs of the bigger cities -- and sometimes the calls from Washington -- supercede any recollection that there is a part of the state where promises were made that have not been kept.

So is the story of Sen. Kay Hagan.

Sad to say, it really seems as if she was not elected at all if you look at what she has done for North Carolina in general and the eastern region in specific.

In fact, are we even sure she is still IN Washington? The only evidence really is when she comes out in support of some initiative by President Barack Obama or parrots the comments of state and local officials, especially as they relate to the military.

This senator's invisibility cloak suggests that perhaps we need to add another category to the list of qualifications by which we will judge those we elect to state and federal office in the coming year -- and really local office, too.

Call it being present.

It seems like the age of electing a candidate to office because he or she kisses babies in your district before Election Day is over. It very likely will take more to be the next governor of North Carolina -- or the next president of the United States for that matter.

But just in case -- a reminder.

When an officeholder or candidate does not make him or herself visible in a portion of his or her district, he or she is conscious of the fact that there are more squeaky wheels and more votes elsewhere.

When an officeholder sides with his or her party or president in direct opposition to what is good for his or her state or community, that person's loyalties and priorities are focused elsewhere.

In these tough economic times, being an officeholder is turning into a pretty good job. Where else can you get guaranteed, low-cost health care and an ironclad pension program for only a couple years work?

We need to make our interviews tougher and our standards higher -- and we need to start with some tough questions for our junior senator.

Published in Editorials on November 5, 2011 11:19 PM