Kay Hagan was born in Shelby, N.C., and currently lives in Greensboro. She earned a bachelor's degree from Florida State University in 1975 and a law degree from Wake Forest University in 1978.
Hagan worked for 10 years at NationsBank, now Bank of America, where she became a vice president in the estates and trust division. She then became a stay-at-home mother.
A niece of Lawton Chiles, the former governor and U.S. senator from Florida, Hagan began her own career in politics by winning a state Senate seat in 1998. She served in that position for 10 years.
In 2008, Hagan defeated Republican Sen. Elizabeth Dole to win election to the U.S. Senate.
Hagan and her husband, Chip, have three children.
Though she was at first slow to endorse the idea, Kay Hagan became a steadfast supporter of the 2010 health care reform bill backed by President Barack Obama. She praised the measure's passage as "historic" and pointed to the bill's benefits for long-term federal budget deficits.
"Our current health care spending is simply unsustainable, and North Carolina families need a common-sense solution," she said.
The Democrat worked in 2010 to limit payday lending, something she worked on as a state senator in North Carolina.
In March 2011, Hagan sat on a congressional panel that questioned Army Secretary John McHugh regarding the unexplained deaths of 12 infants at Fort Bragg dating back to 2007. She said she was concerned the situation would affect soldiers' ability to perform.
"This is an issue of family readiness," Hagan said. "We don't want soldiers from Fort Bragg to worry about the safety of their families when they're deployed."
When in 2012 thousands of Defense Department documents were released pertaining to widespread water contamination at Camp Lejeune, Hagan, who chairs the emerging threats subcommittee of the Armed Services Committee, said she supported a hearing in front of the full panel.
"This is a step in the right direction towards providing the public with transparency on the tragic events that occurred for several decades at Camp Lejeune," Hagan said about the documents' release. "The Marines and family members affected by this terrible incident deserve answers. I will continue to press the Navy and Marine Corps until Congress and the American people have access to the entire collection."
Hagan supported raising the federal tax on a pack of cigarettes from 39 cents to $1 per pack, even though she told her colleagues on the Senate floor that the proposal was "outrageous." Lawmakers voted in 2009 to use the tax to fund an expansion of a children's health program, and Hagan said she wasn't willing to vote against an expansion she wanted despite concerns that her home state would lose jobs.
"My vigorous support of this program itself does not mean I approve of the way that this expansion is being funded," Hagan said. "I vehemently believe that the increase in the tax on cigarettes that this bill includes is regressive and patently unfair for states like North Carolina."
Hagan has repeatedly cited spending as a top priority, supporting a "pay-as-you go" approach to legislation. She was among a group of moderate Democrats who expressed concern in March 2009 about the size of budget deficits, urging budget leaders to make tough decisions about spending.
While running for Senate in 2008, Hagan voiced her opposition to a $700 billion bank bailout program, departing from Democratic leaders in Congress by saying that it was a fix for Wall Street, not Main Street.
But after taking office in January 2009, Hagan agreed to support the release of the second half of those bailout funds, saying President Obama had assured her that there would be greater accountability and oversight.
From 1998 until her 2008 election to the U.S. Senate, Hagan held a seat in the state Senate and served as one of the chamber's chief budget writers from 2003 until 2008.
She won the support of the Democratic Party's establishment, gaining endorsements from Gov. Mike Easley and former Gov. Jim Hunt. Hagan previously worked for Hunt on his 1992 and 1996 gubernatorial campaigns.
Committee Assignments: Armed Services; Small Business and Entrepreneurship; Health, Education, Labor, and Pensions; Banking, Housing, and Urban Affairs
American Conservative Union Rating: 5
Americans for Democratic Action Rating: 95
Kay Hagan won her May 2014 primary, she will face Sean Haugh and Thom Tillis in November.
(Last updated by The Associated Press on June 9, 2014.)