Former Teacher Of The Year Is Running For Congress, Endorsed By Teachers Union

Jessica Kramer | Contributor

Former national 2016 Teacher of the Year Jahana Hayes is running as a Democratic candidate in Connecticut’s 5th congressional district and has the backing of the largest teachers union in the state.

“Jahana is a strong champion and advocate for Connecticut’s students, teachers, and working class,” Connecticut Education Association president Jeff Leake said, according to Hartford Courant on Tuesday. “She has overcome numerous challenges and has taken every opportunity to improve her own life and the lives of others in her community, including her students. She is exactly the type of person we need fighting for all of us in Congress.

Hayes was raised by her grandmother in the housing projects of Waterbury while her mother struggled with addiction. She had a daughter at age 17, worked nights, and went to community college, eventually receiving her bachelors, masters, and education degrees, according to her campaign video released on July 16.

Hayes is a public administrator for Waterbury Public Schools and has also earned the support of the National Education Association Fund for Children and Public Education and the Connecticut chapter of the American Federation of Teachers.

Hayes is running against fellow Democratic nominee Mary Glassman. The primary is set for Aug. 14.

Democratic Sen. Chris Murphy of Connecticut recruited her to run at the beginning of May to replace Democratic Rep. Elizabeth Esty of Connecticut after Esty. Esty announced she would not seek re-election on April 2 after an office sexual harassment scandal, CNN reports.

“I reached out to Jahana within days of Elizabeth’s announcement,” Murphy said. “I’ve always been impressed by her. I have a strong opinion that we need to add voices of color to the delegation and leadership in the state. I wanted to make sure that we had a real choice for delegates and voters in the 5th District,” according to Hartford Courant(RELATED: What The Teacher Of The Year Wore To Meet Trump Proves Exactly Who The Real Tolerant One Is)

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Hayes’ platform is progressive. She supports: a pathway to citizenship for illegal immigrants, wants more money directed to teachers, college subsides, and career training, is for gun control, environmental protection, criminal justice reform, single-payer healthcare, no abortion restrictions, and raising the minimum wage, according to her campaign website.

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