Kay Hagan Live-Blog Tonight - Question Thread

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.


Update Comments are closed for this thread.

Betsy and I have discussed the tone of comments and questions on this thread and are not happy with how things are going. A number of new users have jumped in with hostile and sarcastic questions, which we will not tolerate. We're opening a new thread for the live-blogging session and encourage you to go there to follow the discussion. If you are one of the new, multiple personalities who are spamming our site with hostile questions, stop. We will delete your questions and comments without hesitation.




Or, more specifically, how do you feel about U.S. legislators directing Federal tax dollars to specific private companies back home, outside of the standard, regulated bidding process? Would you support the idea of directing said funds back to North Carolina, and then requiring an open (to the public) bidding process before the actual contract is awarded?

Telecom Immunity

Someone's going to ask, so it might as well be me.

First, a little historical preface...

On Friday, our nation will pause to remember a tragic anniversary: on April 4, 1968, Dr. Martin L. King, Jr. was assassinated at the Lorraine Motel in Memphis, Tennessee. King's legacy on issues of civil rights and social justice (esp. with regard to Vietnam) warrant particular remembrance during this critical time in our nation's history. But it's also worth noting this fact: for the last few years of his life, the FBI illegally wiretapped King's home, office and, since J. Edgar Hoover was feeling particularly vindictive, hotel rooms...all because of King's suspected ties to Communists.

It was because of Hoover's actions against King (and the Southern Christian Leadership Conference) that Congress enacted restrictions on wiretapping (specifically, the Foreign Intelligence and Surveillance Act (FISA)).

Fastforward to present day and you have the Bush administration asking Congress to provide immunity for telecommunication companies who abet the government in wiretapping. The restrictions, passed after King's bugging became public, are being disregarded today.

I haven't heard you speak on the issue directly--only second-hand reports via bloggers and a mention in the News & Record, but now that you're here, I'd love to hear from you directly.

Sen. Hagan, what is your position on telecom immunity?

There are people in every time and every land who want to stop history in its tracks. They fear the future, mistrust the present, and invoke the security of the comfortable past which, in fact, never existed. - Robert F. Kennedy

There are people in every time and every land who want to stop history in its tracks. They fear the future, mistrust the present, and invoke the security of the comfortable past which, in fact, never existed. - Robert F. Kennedy

A couple of other points, she may gloss over

Her explanation in February was that the poor telcos were just trying to be patriotic and they should be granted the "benefit of a doubt" with immunity for this one instance, but not in the future.

Committing a felony (or I should say thousands of felonies) is not a patriotic act. Committing felonies at the behest of the government is also not a patriotic act either.

Let us assume for a moment that it is OK to violate the law (it's not) because after 9/11, everything changed.

The only problem is, the illegal wiretaps began BEFORE 9/11, in fact, the intention to spy domestically was laid out in this December 2000 document from the NSA.

According to James Risen, who broke the illegal domestic wiretap story, Bush moved to a more aggressive spying policy as soon as he took office.

"The president personally and directly authorized new operations, like the NSA's domestic surveillance program, that almost certainly would never have been approved under normal circumstances and that raised serious legal or political questions," Risen wrote in the book. "Because of the fevered climate created throughout the government by the president and his senior advisers, Bush sent signals of what he wanted done, without explicit presidential orders" and "the most ambitious got the message."

James Risen
State of War

And yet, despite all of this extra and extra-legal surveillance, we were still attacked on 9/11.

How can Kay Hagan excuse telcos for assisting in the illegal wiretaps PRIOR to 9/11?

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

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

The Immunity question has a dark element

Should the telecoms be granted Immunity, we will then, for eternity, be unable to learn what we granted them Immunity from. No one presently knows specifically what laws were violated and to what extent.

Just how deep and wide it all went will never be known to us.

How much of the US Constitution was violated will never be known. How far this President went in willful violations of the law will, forever, only be a matter of speculation.

Question: Kay; If you favor immunity for Telecoms for crimes committed while working for the President; Do you also then favor immunity for the crimes possibly being committed by other entities working with and for the President, like Blackwater for instance?

Marshall Adame
2014 U.S. Congress Candidate NC-03


Nationally 37 million Americans live in poverty. In North Carolina around 15% of our state live in poverty, including a depressingly high number of children.

What steps would you take to reduce poverty, and how would it rank in the rest of the priorities that you will have on your plate if elected?

"Keep the Faith"

"Keep the Faith"

Constituent services

Though it should be germane to the position, the Dole tenure in office has shown many North Carolinians from all walks of life and all political affiliations what it's like when there is not a strong commitment to constituent services in a U.S. Senator's office.

Senator Hagan, how would you return to the people of North Carolina a strong advocate Senator who cares enough to fight for regular people when they appeal for help?

"It is amazing what you can accomplish if you do not care who gets the credit." - Harry Truman

"They took all the trees and put them in a tree museum Then they charged the people a dollar 'n a half just to see 'em. Don't it always seem to go that you don't know what you've got till it's gone? They paved paradise and put up a parking lot."


Most races have a number of debates between the candidates, for the voters, to help them decide who will best represent them. Will the voters be given debates in the U.S. Senate race?

One of the pitfalls of childhood is that one doesn't have to understand something to feel it. - Carlos Ruiz Zafon

Jesus Swept ticked me off. Too short. I loved the characters and then POOF it was over.

Concerned and confused

I'm also concerned about the lack of debates. There are very clear and important policy distinctions between the two candidates... Maybe BlueNC could host a live-blog debate. Last night's debate with Moore and Perdue seemed to go pretty well!

Looking for "initiative" takers...

I know the College Dems did a great job with the Lt. Gov. debates...maybe another group can step up to sponsor Senate debates?? Young Dems, Women Dems, anyone??

LGBT rights and pending legislation

First, thank you Senator Hagan for participating in this liveblog.

Senator Dole has not supported any legislation before her that would extend civil rights to LGBT citizens. What are your positions on matters under consideration in the U.S. Senate that will profoundly affect gay and lesbian taxpaying citizens here in NC. Below is legislation already introduced or about to be introduced that you would cast a vote on during your term if elected.

1. Federal hate crimes legislation. Local Law Enforcement Hate Crimes Prevention Act (H.R. 1592 / S. 1105).

2. Employment Non-Discrimination Act (ENDA). One version has already passed the House. It would prohibit discrimination against employees on the basis of sexual orientation. Gender identity is included in the other version of the bill.

3. "Don't Ask, Don't Tell" repeal, which would allow gays and lesbians to serve openly in the military. This has been introduced in the House and will likely be introduced in the Senate.

4. The Uniting American Families Act (H.R. 2221, S. 1328), that would enable an American citizen to petition for immigration sponsorship for a same-sex partner, and the INS would treat the relationships between opposite and same-sex couples in the same manner under the immigration code.


LGBT voters and allies in the NC (as well as thousands of my readers around the country) would also like to know your positions on these civil rights issues...

* Regarding civil marriage. In her consistent position in favor of restricting rights of LGBT citizens, Senator Dole voted for the Federal Marriage Amendment in 1996.

During a Feb. 25 forum at the University of North Carolina in Chapel Hill, you conveyed to attendees that the definition of marriage should be left up to state law.
- How is that reconciled with 1967's Loving v. Virginia, a U.S. Supreme Court ruling that invalidated state bans on interracial marriages? Should that have been left a state matter?
- Would you be in favor of overturning the federal Defense of Marriage Act in full?

* What legal rights should tax-paying gay and lesbian couples NOT have access to if you believe that extending civil marriage is inappropriate at this time. Do you believe that there should not be parity with opposite-sex married couples regarding:
- inheritance rights
- hospital visitation rights
- equal pension and health care benefits
- and the over 1,100 other legal protections government affords couples via civil, not religious, marriage?

Thank you for your consideration.

Pam Spaulding
Durham, NC USA

Pam's House Blend
Email: pam at pamspaulding dot com

Pam Spaulding
Durham, NC USA

Pam's House Blend

Military families and veterans

As an Iraq vet, I speak to many fellow 21st Century vets of both Iraq and Afghanistan and to military families. Setting aside our policy toward both of these combat theaters for the moment, what will be your agenda as a United States Senator representing one of the strongest military states there is?

Military spouses are not getting the support they need to maintain their stability. The lack of child care, mental health counseling, and other deployment support leads to crumbling marriages and a generation of children who will not know their deployed parent (and may be acting out in school as a result).

We will also have long-term medical care for returning soldiers, especially those who do not live near a VA hospital. They must live off the local mental health and medical services which are ill-equipped to support them, never mind supporting them for the next 60 to 70 years of their lives.

What will be your REAL commitment to supporting the troops?


Do you believe the Navy has made a compelling case for an OLF in North Carolina? If so, under what circumstances would you support an OLF in North Carolina? If not, how would you ensure that no North Carolina community would have to suffer what the folks in Washington County have had to suffer?

As a Senator, you would effectively have the power to block any funding for an outlying landing field in North Carolina. Would you use that power?


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?

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?

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

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

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?

Is waterbording torture?

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

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

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

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.)

Welcome to BlueNC

Perfectly fine question! No need to ask anyone to forgive you. We're glad you are here.

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

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


If I were running for Senate it would be EXACTLY because of the poor/sad/unable/disabled who can't do for themselves.

One of the pitfalls of childhood is that one doesn't have to understand something to feel it. - Carlos Ruiz Zafon

Jesus Swept ticked me off. Too short. I loved the characters and then POOF it was over.

I think many of us would say just that

which is probably why the question is phrased this way.

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

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

that's my point

I'm hoping every Democrat would believe those things - what I want to know is what is the motivating force behind her. Not an issue-based answer about gas prices or job loss. Purely a personal question that I think she should answer to show us who she is. I'm really just curious (and I know others who are as well) and I know when she has her commercials, they won't answer this question either. That's all I meant. Hope to get the hang of this without making a fool of myself!

Looking forward to tonight!

Hey there -

I'm Kay's Communications Director, Colleen, and I've been reading through the questions. Thanks to all who have already posted questions -- Kay's looking forward to tonight, so keep them coming!

A quick question back to scharrison -- can you give me an example of what you're referring to in your question? It sounds like 2 different questions -- earmarks and no-bid contracting, but I just want to make sure I understand that correctly.


Thanks, Colleen

I appreciate you stopping in early. I always encourage staff to get involved as much as they're able ... especially with stuff like links and follow-ups ... just as you're doing here. Thanks.

Earmarks which are written

for specific private businesses: ie, "ABC laboratories to perform tests", or, "DEF Construction to upgrade facility", etc.

Which basically amounts to the same thing as no-bid contracting, except that it emanates from the Legislative branch instead of the Executive.

We haven't touched on energy yet.

I posted a similar question in the Gubernatorial debate. Someone has to be first in alternative energy, being to alternative energy what Michigan is to automobiles. Why not North Carolina?

And, if you believe we are capable of moving forward on alternative energy, why did the Senate allow the Construction Work in Progress to pass and why did you vote for it? This will allow power companies to charge us before they build the power plant, even if it is located in South Carolina. Why would they build alternative energy when we will pay them to build nuclear or coal?

One of the pitfalls of childhood is that one doesn't have to understand something to feel it. - Carlos Ruiz Zafon

Jesus Swept ticked me off. Too short. I loved the characters and then POOF it was over.

Hi Kay!

Just a quick note to offer my official welcome ... and my sincere appreciation for your willingness to join us later today. Thank you thank you thank you.

Mental Health

You've watched and participated in the mental health reform and crisis over the last several years. In the Senate, what would you do to improve the mental health system?

Scrutiny Hooligans - http://www.scrutinyhooligans.us

How'd You Decide?

It's my understanding that you had decided against a Senate run but then changed your mind just days after Jim Neal announced his intention to run for the seat.

Could you please explain your sudden change of heart? Many have speculated that entrenched establishment figures made you an offer you couldn't refuse.

Scrutiny Hooligans - http://www.scrutinyhooligans.us

Union Endorsements

You have been endorsed by the AFL-CIO, but at a recent event, I noticed your campaign bought campaign materials: bumper stickers, yard signs, and lapel stickers from a non-union printer. So, my question is: do you only stand up for worker's rights and support the benefits of union membership (higher wages, health care, continued job training and advancement) when it's convenient? Or just when it's someone else's money?

Energy Bill

You point to North Carolina's energy bill, SB 3, as an example of how you do things right in Raleigh. You voted for SB 3. How can you justify your vote to change the rules for Duke Energy so it can charge utility customers for the costs of building new power plants? This has never been done before - it's bad business and bad for consumers. It gives Duke Energy absolutely no incentives to control cost overruns when it builds new plants and it means higher utility bills for us. Do you regret that vote?

Actually, it has been done before,

resulting in outrageous consequences, until the practice was outlawed back in the early 1980's (thanks, Dan). Which makes it even harder to comprehend what lawmakers were thinking when they brought it back with SB3.


Q: Ms. Hagan, “change” seems to be the phrase of the 2008 elections. I have even heard you talk about how Washington needs to change. How can we expect you to be the “change” candidate when you have been so tied to special interests in Raleigh?

Power Crisis

Can you please elaborate on how the SB 3 bill will save North Carolinian families money if the Wall Street owned power companies are allowed to dictate prices (and profits) related to expansion?


Q: Can you please explain the details of your ideas on immigration reform, and elaborate on how your "guest worker" program differs from the Bush "guest worker" program.

Mortgage Meltdown

Q: Please discuss the document release the Department of Treasury this week regarding regulatory reform of the financial sector. Specifically I’d like to hear what you think of the “opt-in” proposals for the financial markets.

Concerned Parent

This is the first of hopefully many posts for me. I saw what BlueNC did for the gubernatorial debate last night and thought that was a wonderful idea. Thanks for that. Hopefully you can do that for the Senate race as well. I have 2 questions for Senator Hagan:
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
Senator Hagan, as a single parent I believe that the Government should at least provide health coverage for our children. Last fall you said you supported the S-CHIP legislation(which I appreciate) – and criticized Dole’s vote against it and said it was an important reason why you got into the race – but at the recent debate, you said you were concerned about how S-CHIP is funded – which is the cigarette tax increase and its impact on North Carolina jobs – which is one of the reasons Dole said she opposed the legislation. This has left a lot of us confused. My bottom line is would you have voted for the legislation that was on the Senate floor or not?

Union Endorsement

Congratulations on your AFL-CIO endorsement. Does this mean that you will now start to buy your campaign supplies at union shops?