04/07/08 — U.S. Senate candidate Kay Hagan makes a stop in Goldsboro

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U.S. Senate candidate Kay Hagan makes a stop in Goldsboro

By Matthew Whittle
Published in News on April 7, 2008 1:52 PM

Working for the opportunity to unseat incumbent Republican U.S. Sen. Elizabeth Dole in November, Democrat Kay Hagan spent part of Friday afternoon campaigning in Goldsboro, stopping at Wilber's Barbecue to talk to some of her possible future constituents.

Mrs. Hagan, currently a five-term state senator from Guilford County, is running, she tells people, because she believes a change is needed.

"I'm saying that Washington (D.C.) is broken," she said. "We need an economic plan that gets gas prices under control, that takes care of our veterans and makes health care affordable for all North Carolinians.

"We also need an energy policy that we can invest in renewable resources, which can create good jobs here."

Most of all, she said, "We need new leadership, and I'm a proven leader. I've served the people of North Carolina for the last 10 years."

And it's that experience -- particularly on the state Senate Appropriations Committee -- that she believes will set her apart, not only from her primary opponents, but also in November.

"We've controlled spending, and we've balanced our budget in North Carolina. We need to do the same in Washington," she said.

Mrs. Hagan also would like to see changes to such mandates as the federal education program No Child Left Behind, which she described as $70 billion underfunded, and, with its requirements that all children, whether learning disabled or not, be tested on the same level, in serious need of reform.

"We need to put common sense back into it," she said.

Other programs she believes are in need of help include Head Start, which she said is only reaching about 40 percent of eligible children because of funding shortfalls, and the State Children's Health Insurance Program, which President George W. Bush recently vetoed a spending increase for.

Mrs. Hagan also pledged to work to improve benefits for veterans.

"(Elizabeth) Dole has voted 18 times against improving veterans' health care and benefits," she said. "We have a lot of veterans in North Carolina I want to go to Washington and work for them."

And even though she hails from the western side of the state, because of her decade in the General Assembly working with members from east of I-95, she believes she can represent everyone's interests.

"How many times have I heard 'We need one North Carolina?'" she said. "We're focused on that."

And, she emphasized again, it's that experience that sets her apart from her primary opponents and Elizabeth Dole.

"I think (Jim Neal, her front-running Democratic opponent) just moved back to the state a year or two ago, while I've been serving the people of North Carolina for 10 years," she said. "(And unlike Mrs. Dole) I actually live in North Carolina and my husband can vote for me."

And though she was at one time unsure about whether or not she really wanted to be in this race -- Mrs. Hagan initially refused to throw her hat into the ring despite pleas from her party -- she says she is now fully committed and excited about the possibility of heading to Washington.

"I am absolutely thrilled to be in this race," she said. "I feel like I am a very fortunate person and this is the way I can give back. I am a public servant.

"We have a great state and I'm going to work as hard in Washington as I have in Raleigh."