AP NEWS

Ex-US Sen Hagan makes rare appearance years after diagnosis

June 6, 2019
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Former U.S. Sen. Kay Hagan, right, smiles with her husband, Chip Hagan, as she wears a hard hat during the ground breaking for a new, 180-foot-tall air traffic control tower at Piedmont Triad International Airport in Greensboro, N.C., on Wednesday, June 5, 2019. (Khadejeh Nikouyeh/News & Record via AP)

GREENSBORO, N.C. (AP) — Years after being diagnosed with brain inflammation, former U.S. Sen. Kay Hagan made a rare public appearance Wednesday at a groundbreaking ceremony for an airport where she helped gain funding.

Hagan helped break ground Wednesday on a new air traffic control tower at Piedmont Triad International Airport, the Greensboro News & Record reported . Hagan visited the airport during her time as a senator and helped alert others in Washington to the need for a new tower, Executive Director Kevin Baker said.

“She climbed up into the tower, and she learned firsthand what its limitations are,” Baker said. “She then made it her charge to help get our project out of the doldrums and moving along.”

In 2016, Hagan contracted a tick-borne illness which caused brain inflammation that made it difficult for her to speak and walk, according to her husband, Chip Hagan.

“We’re just now beginning to get her back out and around a little bit so she can see her friends,” he said.

The air traffic control tower is expected to cost $61 million. Construction started in April and is expected to be complete in 2022.

The Greensboro Democrat defeated Republican Sen. Elizabeth Dole in 2008. She lost her seat in 2014 to Republican Thom Tillis.

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Information from: News & Record, http://www.news-record.com

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