September 24, 2018

Teachers Aren't Just Running for Office—They're Winning

It's a trend noted by the news media, teachers' unions, and educators themselves: Fed up with the state of public education, teachers are running for office.

And now, a new Education Week analysis shows that teachers are not only running—they're winning.

September 16, 2018

How Congressional Hopeful Jahana Hayes Went From Teen Mom to Teacher of the Year

Before she won her primary in August, Jahana Hayes had never run for public office. She hadn’t even thought about it. “I spent the last two years waiting for someone to step up,” says Hayes, 45. “I wasn’t seeing it, and I just decided I’ll give it a shot.”

Hayes, whom President Obama named National Teacher of the Year in 2016, is used to stepping up when no one else will. As a social-studies teacher in a high-poverty school district in Waterbury, Connecticut, she mentored at-risk students. “They were living with grandparents, they had parents who struggled with addiction, they were transient,” Hayes says. “They would say, ‘You don’t get it,’ and I’d say, ‘No, I do.’ 

September 14, 2018

Black female Democrats urge party to rethink future

WASHINGTON — Insurgent Democratic women running for Congress are pushing the party to rethink its approach to politics if they retake control of Capitol Hill in the fall.

At the annual meeting of the Congressional Black Caucus Friday, black female candidates who prevailed in primaries over established incumbents said it’s time for a conversation about how the party is structured. They expressed frustration that the party is tilted against rising politicians — especially those of color — and argued that if Democrats flip the House in November, it would be the result of organization and turnout amount black voters, particularly women.

September 14, 2018

Rising Dem star in Connecticut says people like me ‘deserve a seat at the table’ in Congress

Democratic House candidate Jahana Hayes called for more diversity in Congress on Friday, saying she represents a group that should be represented at the table.

"Government is supposed to be taking care of people, and if you don't understand the concerns of people, if you are so far removed from the challenges that your constituents and members of your community are facing, then how can you accurately represent me?" Hayes, a former National Teacher of the Year, told Hill.TV's Buck Sexton and Krystal Ball on "Rising." 

"I don't think Congress should be all freshman members, I don't think it should be all teachers, but I think it should be a variety of all of the people that make up our community, and people like me happen to be people that make up our community, and we deserve a seat at the table," she continued. 

September 13, 2018

Women Shatter Records In 2018 Primary Elections

With the 2018 primary season over, it’s official: Women have made history and shattered records, winning major party nominations in record numbers. 

A total of 234 women have won Democratic or Republican House nominations this year, up from the previous record of 167 women in 2016. Democrats also hit a record number of female nominees, while Republicans fell short of the record they set in 2004. 

On the Senate side, 22 women are major party nominees, beating the 2012 record of 18. Both Democrats and Republicans set records for female Senate nominees this year.

September 10, 2018

Viral Videos Are Replacing Pricey Political Ads. They’re Cheaper, and They Work

Jahana Hayes was named the 2016 Teacher of the Year by President Barack Obama. Ms. Hayes, who won a primary for Congress last month, included her reaction to winning the award in a viral campaign video that raised $300,000 in donations.

September 09, 2018

Dem event honors Wyman, other female politicians

PLANTSVILLE — After listening to state Democratic Party Chairman Nick Balletto list her accomplishments for less than a minute, the state’s lieutenant governor, Nancy Wyman, could not stand to hear herself praised for another second.

“That’s enough,” she said, her unmistakable voice ringing out across the hall, and causing several hundred Democrats to erupt in laughter and a standing ovation as she made her way to the stage.

Balletto was presenting Wyman with the Ella T. Grasso Leadership Award at the state Democratic party’s annual Women’s Leadership Brunch on Sunday. Wyman, who is retiring in January, brought her typical humor and sass to the event, refusing to talk about the numerous accolades she’s earned throughout her career and instead using her acceptance speech to praise the other women in the room who were being honored in their own right.

September 06, 2018

From poverty to star teacher, Hayes now eyes Congress seat

WATERBURY, Conn. (AP) — As she hits up the town fairs and parades across northwestern Connecticut, political newcomer Jahana Hayes is sharing her story of rising from poverty to the height of the teaching profession in her bid to become the state's first black woman elected to Congress.

Hayes, the 2016 National Teacher of the Year, defeated a veteran politician in the Democratic primary last month, propelling her candidacy onto the national stage in a year when many voters are embracing non-traditional congressional candidates like Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez in New York and Ayanna Pressley in Massachusetts.

September 06, 2018

Ayanna Pressley is just one of the women candidates making history in 2018. Here's a rundown

WASHINGTON – Even before November’s midterm elections, women candidates are already having a record-breaking year.

Women have smashed records this election cycle in terms of the number who filed to run, the number of nominees for House, Senate and gubernatorial races, and even the number of women running against women in general election races. 

“All that’s left now is what happens in November,” said Debbie Walsh, director of Rutgers' Center for American Women and Politics.

September 06, 2018

New England could send two African American Congresswomen to Washington this year

Ayanna Pressley’s upset victory over a 10-term Democratic Congressman in Tuesday’s Massachusetts primary means New England could be sending two black congresswomen to Washington, D.C. this year.

Jahana Hayes, who beat establishment Democrat Mary Glassman in the Connecticut’s 5th District primary, says she would embrace the historic nature of the story more if the focus ever gets beyond race.

“It is not just about black women — it is about all the people in our communities, where the electorate is changing,” said Hayes, the 2016 National Teacher of the Year. “It is not that revolutionary of an idea.”

September 06, 2018

From the classroom to the campaign trail

In August, Jahana Hayes, a National Teacher of the Year in 2016 and a National Education Association member, won the Democratic primary for a congressional seat in Connecticut. If she wins in November, Hayes would be the state’s first African-American Democrat to serve in Congress.

September 05, 2018

Hayes helps Torrington Democrats open East Main Street headquarters

TORRINGTON – Democrats opened their campaign headquarters on East Main Street with the election two months away. Jahana Hayes, the 5th Congressional District candidate, spoke at Wednesday’s kickoff event at 40 East Main St., as did local state representative candidates and probate judge candidate Ruth Nadeau Dwyer. “I think we’ve got a lot of enthusiastic

September 04, 2018

Identity politics are a double-edged sword

The recent primaries, particularly on the Democratic side, have unleashed a pack of first-ism cliches. If elected in November, Andrew Gillum would become “Florida’s first black governor” (CNN). Stacey Abrams in Georgia could be “America’s first black female governor” (Time).

Jared Polis, the Democratic nominee in Colorado, could become “America’s first openly gay elected governor” (Vox). In Michigan, Rashida Tlaib could be “the first Muslim woman elected to Congress” (Fox News). And Jahana Hayes would be Connecticut’s “first black Democrat to serve in Congress” (The New York Times).

September 02, 2018

A bipartisan rallying cry: Teachers hit the campaign trail to demand public education reform

As classrooms and textbooks crumble from neglect and resources run thin, teachers from both parties are running for office in unprecedented numbers this year in hopes of gaining a political voice in Washington and in statehouses across the country.

More than 300 educators are on ballots, more than double the 2014 and 2016 numbers, in a grassroots movement following strikes that shuttered schools in such states as West Virginia, Oklahoma, Kentucky, Arizona and Colorado.

August 31, 2018

Democrats, labor use Trump and Stefanowski as motivation

Jahana Hayes, a political newcomer who soundly defeated former Simsbury First Selectman Mary Glassman to win the Democratic primary in Connecticut’s 5th Congressional District, said the motives of Trump and his allies are clear.

“Anybody who would not want your voice at the table or your presence in the room has nefarious intent,” Hayes said. “We have an administration that does not even value the work that we do.”

A former National Teacher of the Year, Hayes ran a strong 

grass-roots campaign based on a personal story that included growing up in Waterbury’s tough housing projects, experiencing homelessness, and becoming pregnant as a teen.

“I am you,” Hayes told the delegates. “You will be at the table with me. You will have a voice in this conversation.”

August 31, 2018

Unions throw support behind pro-labor Democrats

HARTFORD — Ahead of Labor Day, the Connecticut AFL-CIO, a federation of hundreds of local unions, rallied its members Friday to back pro-union candidates in an election in which labor and pensions are a growing centerpiece.

“People need to get out and they need to get out and vote,” Lori Pelletier, president of the Connecticut AFL-CIO, said at the group’s final political convention. She reminded members of President Donald Trump’s decision hours earlier to cancel January pay raises for civilian federal employees, citing budget constraints.

With representatives from 113 local unions gathering at the Hilton Hotel in Hartford, the AFL-CIO endorsed Democratic nominee Susan Bysiewicz for lieutenant governor, although the group backed Bysiewicz’s opponent Eva Bermudez Zimmerman, herself a union organizer, prior to the primary.

August 30, 2018

Democrat could become CT’s first black woman in Congress

When Rep. Elizabeth Esty, D-New Britain, resigned in April, few expected the race to fill her seat to yield much drama. But the primaries, which took place in August, grabbed national attention when a charismatic newcomer claimed the Democratic nomination. 

The 5th congressional district winds through northwestern Connecticut, encompassing New Britain, part of Waterbury and a corner of New Haven County. Esty stepped down in April after she was found to have mishandled complaints of sexual harassment against her chief of staff. In their respective primaries, Republicans nominated former Meriden Mayor Manny Santos, while Democratic candidate Jahana Hayes, a former national “Teacher of the Year,” won the nomination in an upset against establishment pick Mary Glassman, a longtime local officeholder.

August 30, 2018

The DNC Says 'Education Is on the Ballot.' Here's What That Does and Doesn't Mean

Among the candidates they point to are Jahana Hayes, the nation's 2016 Teacher of the Year who is running to represent Connecticut in the U.S. House of Representatives, and David Garcia, who's the Democratic nominee in the Arizona governor's race. They also highlight the hundreds of teachers who are running for office, as well as an Alaska education advocate, Alyse Galvin, who was motivated to run in part because of her opposition to Secretary of Education Betsy DeVos

August 27, 2018

MoveOn apologizes for endorsing Glassman in 5th District race

A liberal political action group has apologized for being duped into endorsing the establishment Democrat who was trounced in the 5th District primary by progressive newcomer Jahana Hayes.

MoveOn Political Action said it never would have endorsed the Democratic primary loser, Mary Glassman, had her campaign not ignored the group’s rules and distributed an endorsement vote form to her supporters who were not registered MoveOn members.

July 23, 2018

Hayes’ Life Experience Key

I attended the recent candidate forum in Washington Depot at which Jahana Hayes and Mary Glassman laid out their hopes and visions for the 5th Congressional District [July 8,, “In The 5th District Democratic Primary, Accord On The Issues But Differences In Style”]


They are vying in the Aug. 14 primary to be the Democratic candidate for Congress in November. They made strong cases, and share a vision for our nation that is quite different from the prevailing view in Washington

July 15, 2018

Jahana Hayes: 5th District hopeful says her time is now

NEW BRITAIN - In a year filled with outsiders running for office, both statewide and nationally, Jahana Hayes thinks the time is right for a candidate such as herself. 


The 2016 National Teacher of the Year is hoping to become the first African-American woman to represent Connecticut in Congress, running for the 5th District seat now held by U.S. Rep. Elizbeth Esty, who is not seeking re-election. 


Hayes narrowly lost the Democratic endorsement to former Simsbury First Selectman Mary Glassman in May, but that hasn’t stopped the educator on her mission to bring a new perspective to Washington.

July 15, 2018

This Woman Was Once The National Teacher Of The Year. Now She Is Running For

A former National Teacher Of The Year recipient has now thrown her hat into the political ring.


Jahana Hayes is currently running for the vacant 5th Congressional District seat in Connecticut with the chance to become the first black Democrat to ever represent Connecticut in Congress. 


“I’m a fighter,” Hayes told the Hartford Courant. “Time and time again, I have had doors shut in my face and have had to walk around and knock on the back door.’’

July 13, 2018

Hayes Says Race a Factor in 5th District Contest

Jahana Hayes, a newcomer to the political scene, says race is an issue that’s at the forefront of the election for the vacant Fifth Congressional District.

"I can't take this skin off. It's who I am,” Hayes said during an interview at her Waterbury campaign headquarters. “I care about people and I think the only way to care about people is to have a deeper level of understanding to invite all people into the conversation."

She says it still surprises her when she thinks about the fact that a black Democrat has never represented Connecticut in Congress.

“Something is missing and it bothers me because I am a black woman,” Hayes said.

July 05, 2018

Hayes, a passionate educator running for Congress in an outsider’s year

Jahana Hayes was with 19 of her students in California this spring, building a Habitat for Humanity house in an area decimated by forest fires, when she had the epiphany.

She should run for Congress.

“I try to teach these kids ‘you can be part of a community,'” Hayes, 45, said of her students from Waterbury’s John F. Kennedy High School.  “I try to tell them ‘no matter where you are in life, you have the capacity to do something.'”

June 28, 2018

Higher Heights for America PAC Endorses Jahana Hayes

Higher Heights for America PAC endorses Jahana Hayes for Connecticut's 5th Congressional District.  If elected, Jahana will become the first Black woman elected to Connecticut's congressional delegation.

June 27, 2018

Statement From Jahana on JANUS V. AFSCME Decision

(WATERBURY, CT) – Jahana Hayes, an educator and Democratic candidate for Connecticut's 5th Congressional District, today released the following statement on the Supreme Court's Janus v. AFSCME decision. 

June 22, 2018

AFL-CIO endorses Eva Bermudez Zimmerman, Jahana Hayes

The state AFL-CIO rejected convention-endorsed Democrats in two high-profile primaries Friday by backing political newcomers with strong union ties: Eva Bermudez Zimmerman for lieutenant governor and Jahana Hayes for the open 5th Congressional District seat.

The endorsements give a strong boost to two women who would bring racial diversity to the ticket, a move some Democrats say is necessary to mobilize the party’s urban base. Zimmerman, who is Puerto Rican, would be the first Hispanic holding statewide office, while Hayes would be the first African-American elected to Congress as a Democrat from Connecticut.

June 22, 2018

AFL-CIO Backs Outsiders at State Political Convention

In another sign of a shifting political landscape, Connecticut’s largest labor organization rejected two white candidates with establishment pedigrees and endorsed a pair of outsiders with dynamic life stories and strong ties to organized labor.

The 192 delegates to the AFL-CIO convention on Friday threw their support behind Jahana Hayes, an African American teacher running for Congress in the 5th Congressional District, and Eva Bermudez Zimmerman, a Puerto Rican union organizer seeking the lieutenant governor’s seat. Both are Democrats with limited experience in electoral politics taking on convention-endorsed opponents in the Aug. 14 primary.

June 18, 2018

Common Sense Gun Laws Save Lives

One of the things that I love about campaigning is traveling across the 5th District and listening to the issues each of you care about and realizing that they are the same issues I care about. This week what I heard whether you live in Cornwall or Meriden, was that gun safety is a major concern.


It seems like not a week goes by in our country without an active shooter tragedy, many of them at schools. As a teacher and a mom, the number of school shootings that have occurred just this year is frightening and unacceptable. Each time they happen, we hold brief discussions about the best way to respond before our national attention gets shifted to the next topic. One idea that keeps coming up, however, is the notion of arming teachers.

June 14, 2018

Sen. Kamala Harris Endorses Jahana Hayes in CT-5

Democrat Jahana Hayes, who is running for Congress in the 5th District, has landed a big endorsement: Sen. Kamala Harris of California, a potential 2020 presidential contender.

June 13, 2018

Jahana Hayes, Congressional Candidate, statement regarding 5th Congressional District Convention Dispute Resolution Hearing

Wolcott, CT-Today the Democratic State Central Committee issued a decision in the dispute resolution hearing regarding the 5th District Convention. The panel unanimously ruled in favor of the complainant and ordered that two additional votes be given back to me. While the committee’s decision does not change the outcome of the hearing, I can still find reasons to be pleased with the conclusion.

June 06, 2018

We Need Medicare For All

As I look back on my first month on the campaign trail and begin my second, I can’t help but think about all the amazing people I have met from all different backgrounds and the many issues that I have learned you care about. One issue I keep hearing about, whether you live in a city or a suburb, is health care.

This is an issue that is incredibly personal for me as well. My grandmother passed away one year ago after a long battle with dementia. My family cared for her at home for the last years of her life as her health declined. We fought to get her the care she needed and the dignity of end of life care. As an educator, I have watched as students relied on the emergency rooms or the school nurses as their primary care physicians and lacked necessary preventative care. Many people have shared their concerns about the future of our health care system with me.

June 02, 2018

From the Classroom to the Campaign Trail: Emboldened Teachers Run for Office

The Center for American Women and Politics at Rutgers University said at least 20 retired and working female teachers are running for Congress this year.

Their ranks are expected to grow. The National Education Association, the country’s largest teachers union, trained 70 teachers last year in its “See Educators Run” seminar, giving teachers mentoring and support to run a campaign. About 200 teachers applied in 2017; halfway through 2018, about 170 have applied.

Teachers are being recruited to run: In Connecticut, 2016 National Teacher of the Year Jahana Hayes decided to seek a seat in Congress after she said she got a nudge from Sen. Chris Murphy (D).

June 28, 2018

Not Who We Are

Muslim bans. Separating children from their parents at our border. Demonizing people who are coming to the U.S. for a better life.

It’s hard to believe that these things are happening in our country at this very moment. It’s not just the fact that these acts are profoundly immoral and inhumane, which they are. What’s also jarring is that, at their core, they’re un-American.

June 02, 2018

Out Of Poverty And Onto The Ballot: The New Wave Of Working-Class Candidates Trying To Take Congress

Jahana Hayes grew up in a housing project in Connecticut, and despite a teenage pregnancy that momentarily derailed her high school education, she finished school and eventually the 2016 National Teacher of the Year.

“Despite being surrounded by abject poverty, drugs, and violence, my teachers made me believe that I was college material and planted a seed of hope,” Hayes said at the National Education Association Convention in 2016. “I identify with my students because I am my students, and I know what it feels like when every statistic and everything around you is an indicator or a predictor of failure.”

June 02, 2018

Hayes Seeks to go From Classroom to Congress in 5th District race

Jahana Hayes had two dreams while she was growing up with her grandmother in Waterbury’s toughest housing project: to be a teacher and to live in a house with a back yard. 

When she got pregnant at 17 - the same age her mother got pregnant with her, and the same age her grandmother got pregnant with her mother — Hayes was forced to delay college, but resolved to follow the detour to her destination.

In 2016, when Hayes was named the National Teacher of the Year for her work in the same public high school where she was a teenage mom, it seemed as though her story had come full circle.​

May 30, 2018

Working Mom, Meet Call Time

I just finished my first week as a candidate since announcing I would move forward in the primary for the 5th Congressional District seat in Connecticut. As a working mom running for Congress, it has been a bit of a juggling act but it has also energized me. It has reaffirmed why working people like me need to be in Congress and it has also shown me why people like me rarely get to Congress.

May 24, 2018

Can Ms. Hayes go to Washington? A national teacher of the year explains why she’s running for Congress

Jahana Hayes thinks what Washington, D.C. needs is a schoolteacher — one of the nation’s top teachers, in fact.

Hayes, the 2016 national teacher of the year, is running for Congress. The history and civics teacher says she hadn’t expected to get into politics. But after more than a year of traveling the country talking to teachers, and continuing to encourage her own students to take on new responsibilities, she said she had an epiphany.

“Who’s going to speak for them?” she said. “I started to think about it in a realistic way. There’s a perspective that has been missing for way too long.”

May 02, 2018

Waterbury's Jahana Hayes, A Former National Teacher of The Year, To Run For Esty's Congressional Seat

She’s already had an audience with Barack Obama at the White House.


Her path from teenage mom to National Teacher of the Year in 2016 has drawn attention from media powerhouses.


Next for Jahana Hayes, who has deep roots in Waterbury, is a run for Elizabeth Esty’s 5th Congressional District seat.


The political newcomer, a mother of four who grew up in public housing and is married to a city police detective, announced her candidacy Wednesday in the open seat contest.

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