Kay Hagan talks elections 2016 and more

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Now that summer’s winding down, it’s time for the campaign season to ramp up. Those still pondering whether to run for major elected offices next year will need to make their decisions within the next couple of months.

Former North Carolina Senator Kay Hagan of Greensboro won’t be among them. It’s been a little more than nine months since she conceded her re-election bid to State House Speaker Thom Tillis. Earlier this summer, she announced she wouldn’t run against Senator Richard Burr in 2016.

Below is a portion of Senator Kay Hagan’s interview we aired earlier. Here, she talks about the last campaign, why she decided not to run against Senator Richard Burr and her future plans.

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After a recent speaking engagement at Bennett College, Hagan spent a few minutes with me in her first on-camera interview since last November. She recently finished a teaching fellowship at Harvard University and has since been enjoying some downtime with her family.

“I don’t think people understand really how much time, energy is consumed by somebody running in a swing state,” she told me, adding the United States Supreme Court’s Citizens United versus Federal Election Commission decision in 2010 really affected her most recent campaign.

That decision essentially kept the government from restricting political spending by non-profit groups, namely political action committees or PACs.

“You know, I individually raised about $28 million in $5 to $20 contributions,” she said. “You compare that back to 2008 and it was about $8 million.”

She now plans on supporting others who’ll take North Carolina in a different direction.

“You know, if you look at Senator (Richard) Burr’s numbers, they’re low,” she said. “I think there are any number of people in North Carolina that we will be hearing about that will be taking on Senator Burr in this race.”

She also didn’t pull any punches when talking about the Republican majority in the North Carolina General Assembly, a place she spent 10 years as a state senator.

“Our General Assembly in North Carolina passed the most restrictive voter registration laws in the entire country. I look at people who actually voted in 2012 that in the same circumstance would be denied their right to vote in 2014,” she said.

“Medicaid: the fact that they have said no to billions of dollars coming into North Carolina that would help 500,000 of our individuals now who can’t get access to healthcare. You look at the fact the denied unemployment benefits that every other state allowed. You look at what they’ve done to education. I think it’s abysmal that we’re 48th in the nation in what we pay our teachers,” she told me.

Although it’s obvious she’s still passionate and comfortable talking about issues within state government, she told me she’s not ready to run again for a state office -- even governor -- right now.

“I would never say never. But I certainly want to see North Carolina move in the right direction. And it’s not there now,” she said.

Stay tuned.

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