Ex-US Sen Hagan makes rare appearance years after diagnosis

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Former Sen. Kay Hagan (left) attends the groundbreaking of a new air traffic control tower at Piedmont Triad International Airport on June 5, 2019. (Photo: WFMY)

GREENSBORO, N.C. (AP) — A former U.S. senator who has been suffering from brain inflammation made a rare public appearance at a groundbreaking ceremony for an airport where she helped gain funding.

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

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Hagan’s husband says her condition, which developed from a tick-borne illness, makes it difficult for her to speak and walk. He says she hadn’t gotten out often since her 2016 diagnosis.

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