For the last five years, Kay Hagan has been a champion for North Carolina’s African American community in the U. S. Senate. Jobs and the economy have been her number one priority and she has worked tirelessly to combat the dangerous, special interest agenda Thom Tillis has passed in Raleigh.
Kay has been a consistent advocate for raising the federal minimum wage, which would benefit a million North Carolinians. Thom Tillis has called increasing the minimum wage a “dangerous” idea and says we should be abolishing the federal minimum wage. But raising the minimum wage is just one plank in the work Kay is doing to improve our economy and secure jobs for our communities in North Carolina.
Last year, she commissioned a Small Business Advisory Committee and selected Andrea Harris, who runs the North Carolina Institute of Minority Economic Development, to co-chair that committee. Kay knows minority-owned small business needs a seat at the table.
For that same reason, Kay brought Small Business Administrator Deputy Administrator, Marie Johns – a top Obama administration official – to North Carolina to hold a minority-owned small business roundtable. And right there in Winston-Salem, she invited another top African-American Small Business Administration official to help introduce her bill to promote small business and reduce federal regulations.
Kay understands that, more than anything else, small businesses need access to capital, which is why she supported the Jumpstart Our Businesses Startups Act, which makes it easier for companies to raise money, go public and hire more workers.
Kay knows that a sound economy starts with good public schools, and one of the biggest contrasts in this election will be education. Kay introduced a bill to turn around our lowest-performing schools and she has fought for funding for North Carolina schools and teachers. Last summer, she worked to keep federal student loan rates from doubling. In when she was a budget writer in the state Senate, she included a teacher pay raise in every budget she wrote. Compare that with Thom Tillis’ record of cutting public education spending by almost $500 million, making it harder for families to save for college and forcing teachers go another year without pay raises. That’s not the way we prepare our students to get the jobs of the 21st century.
In the Senate, Kay introduced the AMERICA Works Act to close the “skills gap” by creating industry-recognized, nationally portable credentials in a range of industries. Kay is focused on commonsense solutions like the AMERICA Works Act that brings together industry and community colleges together to shape curricula that will definitely make North Carolinians job ready.
On equal pay for women, Kay has been leading the charge. She knows it is unacceptable for middle class families and children that women in North Carolina still earn just 82 cents to the dollar that men earn. Thom Tillis killed an equal pay bill in the State Legislature.
Kay’s record makes it clear that she is working for all-around improvements to our communities that will boost our economy. Her support of the minimum wage is just one part of her work to improve our economy. Whether it is defending the Affordable Care Act or fighting for better schools, Kay has proven that she will never back down when North Carolina’s interests are at stake.
We need Kay, not a puppet of the special interests, in Washington fighting for us.
State Sen. Earline Parmon represents Forsyth County.