Sen. Kay Hagan spoke at the North Carolina State AFL–CIO’s annual convention Friday morning. While her speech was well received by the crowd, she by and large declined to specifically mention ways she has supported the North Carolina labor movement.
“When the interests of North Carolina’s working families are on the line, I will never back down,” Hagan said, citing raising the federal minimum wage as one such interest.
Hagan said she supports raising the minimum wage to $10.10 an hour. This, however, is $4.90 short of the $15 minimum wage that Ben Wilkins, a labor organizer with NC Raise Up!—the union behind the fast-food worker strikes—called for only moments before while speaking as a part of a panel discussion.
Hagan also talked about advancing Medicaid, reforming higher education and fighting for equal pay for men and women. But Hagan was never better received than when she was trashing Speaker Thom Tillis.
Pithy quips such as “Speaker Tillis is not working for working families” frequently sent the crowd into a frenzy of applause.
After Hagan’s 15-minute speech ended, the DJ, who was actually just a man playing guitar and singing in between speakers, began to sing a song whose chorus consisted of “We don’t want Tillis. We want Kay.”
As Hagan walked off the stage to the Prairie Home Companion-like song, it was hard to tell whether the members of the AFL–CIO were throwing their weight behind Senator Hagan because they believed in her or because she is the lesser of two evils.