Tribute to Kay Haganby Senator Heidi Heitkamp
Posted on 2014-12-11
HEITKAMP. Madam President, I rise today to honor my colleague
from North Carolina, Senator Kay Hagan, who is departing from the
Senate at the end of this year. Senator Hagan has been a strong voice
for North Carolina's families, first during her decade in the North
Carolina State Senate and during her service here in the United States
Senate. Over the last two years, I have been consistently impressed
with Senator Hagan's compassion for and advocacy on behalf of her
constituents and her willingness to forge the tough, bipartisan
compromises that our country needs.
Kay actually first came to the Senate in the 1970s as an intern in the Capitol, where she operated the elevator that continues to carry Senators to and from the Chamber. After finishing her college education and pursuing her law degree, Kay became an attorney for North Carolina National Bank and eventually became a vice president in the estates and trust division.
Senator Hagan's business and banking experience has been a tremendous asset during her time as a member of the banking committee, where we serve together. Senator Hagan's understanding of the housing finance system and commitment to affordable housing was invaluable as she and I worked together with a bipartisan group of committee members to draft and advance legislation reforming the system to make sure the American taxpayer is protected and made whole. During the debate Senator Hagan used her expert knowledge of the industry to craft a commonsense, bipartisan solution. Our proposal makes sure taxpayers are never left holding the bill again, while preserving the 30-year mortgage and supporting affordable housing--a huge accomplishment.
Senator Hagan comes from a family and a State with a rich military history. Her father and brother both served in the Navy, and her husband, Chip, is a Navy Vietnam veteran. She has diligently supported and honored servicemembers and veterans as a member of the Armed Services Committee. She visited North Carolina troops in the Middle East to better understand their mission and needs, and she helped found the Military Family Caucus to raise awareness of the difficulties faced by those with loved ones abroad. In conjunction with her work on the small business committee, she introduced legislation to reduce veteran unemployment by providing employers a work opportunity tax credit for hiring a member of the National Guard.
As a member of the Health, Education, Labor, and Pensions Committee and Chair of the Subcommittee on Children and Families, Senator Hagan has consistently fought to make sure America's children have the education, tools, and resources to build a better tomorrow. In fact, Senator Hagan's first bill was on a subject very dear to me--financial literacy. Far too many young Americans fall victim to financial scams or take out too many loans because they haven't been given an adequate education on personal finances. Senator Hagan's legislation--which she has pressed every Congress--would have helped States integrate financial literacy into middle-and high school curriculums. That is the kind of commonsense legislation Senator Hagan is known for and Congress should be passing.
Senator Hagan has been an outstanding public servant for the people of North Carolina. Although I am saddened to see such a well-respected female colleague depart from the Senate, I know Kay will continue to be a champion for North Carolina's families in the years ahead, and I wish her all the best.