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In 2016, President Barack Obama named Jahana Hayes the National Teacher of the Year. Now two years later, Hayes has won the Democratic primary for Connecticut's Fifth Congressional District. This makes her one step closer to becoming Connecticut's first Black member of Congress.
Hayes expressed in her campaign video: "This is my home, where people are strong, but they aren't supposed to run for Congress. If Congress starts to look like us, no one can stop us. This is our moment to act, to organize, and bring our truth to power."
Hayes, who grew up in an economically disadvantaged neighborhood in Waterbury, Connecticut and unexpectedly became a mother in high school, remembers the impact that her teachers had in her life. Their influence coupled with self-determination, helped Hayes become the first in her family to attend and graduate college. As a high school history teacher in the same city that she grew up in, Hayes set out to show her students, that no matter the obstacle, they too can achieve their dreams. Now, she's dreaming bigger.
Running her primary campaign on transitioning to a single-payer health care system, passing gun control legistaltion, and protecting the public education system, Hayes will now face Republicans Manny Santos, Ruby Corby O'Neill or Rich DuPont in the November general election.
If she wins, she'll be added to the growing list of Black women making history in politics.