Jahana Hayes

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Jahana Hayes

Jahana Hayes is a Waterbury Connecticut activist.

Congressional Progressive Caucus

Shortly after the 2018 election Jahana Hayes joined the Congressional Progressive Caucus.


  • Studied at University of Bridgeport
  • Studied Curriculum & Instruction at University of Saint Joseph
  • Studied Secondary Education/History at Southern Connecticut State University
  • Studied Liberal-arts at Naugatuck Valley Community College


  • Talent & Professional Development Supervisor at Waterbury Public Schools
  • Former Teacher at Kennedy High School

Wins Democratic nomination

Jahana Hayes, a former National Teacher of the Year, won the Democratic nomination on August 2018 to replace retiring Rep. Elizabeth Esty (D-Conn.), defeating a party-backed candidate.


The Associated Press called the race with 44 percent of precincts in Connecticut's 5th District reporting. At the time Hayes was declared the winner, she had 59 percent of the vote compared to opponent Mary Glassman, who had been endorsed by the Connecticut Democratic Party.

Hayes, a first-time candidate and former high school social studies teacher, was honored in 2016 by former President Obama at the White House, where she received the National Teacher of the Year Award.


Her retirement cleared the way for a Democratic primary in Esty’s district. Glassman, who has worked in various roles at the state government level, immediately jumped into the race.

Meanwhile, Hayes — encouraged to run by Sen. Chris Murphy (D-Conn.) — entered the contest in May.

Hayes missed out on the state party’s endorsement at its May 14 convention. But she picked up the backing of Sen. Kamala Harris (D-Calif.), a Democratic heavyweight and rumored 2020 presidential contender, as well as the Congressional Black Caucus PAC and the Congressional Progressive Caucus.[1]

Union supporter

Jahana Hayes , who won two enthusiastic standing ovations at the state AFL-CIO convention, is an 11-year NEA member after first, as an African-American single mother, gaining a job at the Southbury Training School and joining SEIU Hospital and Health Care Workers 1199. She says her union jobs lifted her out of poverty.

Before winning the training school job, Hayes told the delegates that her boss at a non-union shop forced her to constantly work double shifts, even though she was a young single mother. Her boss said if she didn’t like it she could leave. “Instead, I found my union sisters and brothers,” in 1199 at Southbury Training School, she said. Their fight won compensatory pay for mandatory overtime.

“I will never forget what unions have done for me. I know why we have a 40-hour work week, minimum wages, safety protections. Together we raised our voices.”

“We can’t let up, we can’t let go, we can’t stop fighting,” she said. “Hold leaders accountable every time they take our power away. The most important power is the power of the ballot.”


The state fed convention adopted an “Invest in Workers Agenda to Combat Income Inequality Within the First 100 Days of the 2019 Session,” including paid family and medical leave – a longtime cause of veteran U.S. Rep. Rosa DeLauro, a Democrat from New Haven — and raising the minimum wage to $15 an hour.

As might be expected, Hayes puts improving education at the top of her priorities and her website. She declared her teachers inspired her to escape childhood poverty – and so she inspires her students to go out and serve the community. Those efforts helped garner her the Teacher of the Year Award from the National Council of State School Officers, with Obama giving it.

The satisfaction that comes from watching “students take ownership of their community is unmatched,” said Hayes on her website.

“Teachers exposed me to a different world by letting me borrow books to read at home and sharing stories about their college experiences,” she added. “So many things that [teachers do] fall outside of traditional teaching responsibilities. It is those times when I am transformed into an advisor, counselor, confidant and protector.”

But she also campaigns for other progressive causes, including the Fight for 15 and Medicare for All. Her opponent in the primary, Mary Glassman, endorses strengthening the Affordable Care Act.

As a result, Hayes has an enormous list of unions and progressive organizations in her corner. They include the NEA, its Connecticut affiliate, the Teachers (AFT), AFSCME Council 4, Auto Workers District 9A, Teamsters Local 67, the Service Employees, and the Working Families Party. Glassman had Our Revolution and, narrowly, the state Democratic Party. She beat Hayes on the second ballot at the state convention.[2]


Rep. Jahana Hayes, D-Conn., a first-year lawmaker, union member and former National Teacher of the Year made single-payer a key campaign plank in her win in the Danbury-Waterbury 5th District in 2018.[3]

Communist Party connections

Communist supporter

Leonard C. Yannielli November 1 2018:

Dear MoveOn, Last week MoveOn members made a qualitative difference in the Waterbury office of Jahana Hayes for Congress. Now comes the real test. Tuesday, November 6th, is Election Day!, We need an All-Out Call/Text to all members in Connecticut. I was born and raised in Waterbury. I well know the difficultes running for elected office in the Naugatuck Valley. The large shops and many unions are gone. People are trying to piece their lives together by working in the service industries and can’t well support a family that way. With desperation also comes confusion. They have been preyed on by corrupt politicians who convince them to vote against their interests.
Jahana Hayes is a breath of fresh air. The opposite of the millionaire clubs in Congress, she is a working teacher. In fact she is working while running for Congress! She has a chance to be the first African American woman to go to Congress from Ct. She is fighting for green jobs, extending medicare to all and for real gun control. It will only happen if we, MoveOn, get behind this campaign in a big way. This work involves phone calling from the office. We will be identifying people who need a ride to the polls. We have plenty of drivers already so this work is simply calling from the office to ID who needs a ride Go to the Jahana Hayes Office, 11 AM, Tuesday , Nov. 6th at 142 Bank Street, Waterbury, Ct. Let’s keep Ct blue and be apart of this historic victory!!!

Letter: Hayes supports passive recreation

Leonard C. Yannielli had a letter pubblished in The register/Citizen Wednesday, October 3, 2018:[4]

One doesn’t often meet a candidate for Congress whose platform states support for passive recreation. Yet Jahana Hayes is that kind of candidate. As a mom and a public school teacher, she knows the grassroots needs of communities.
While supportive of active reaction as well, she knows there are the majorities of young people who need the alternatives that passive recreation affords e.g. nature walks, writing, poetry, wildlife photography, bird watching, outdoor theater, plein air painting and conservation activities.
Please support Democrat Jahana Hayes for Congress on Tuesday, Nov. 6.

Fishman on Hayes

Joelle Fishman Peoples World October 26, 2018:[5]

National attention has also been focused on Jahana Hayes, union teacher and candidate for an open seat in the 5th District who, if elected, will be the first African American woman to go to Congress from this state.
At a breakfast attended by construction trades, health care, and teacher union members prior to door knocking in Danbury, National Education Association vice president Becky Pringle roused the crowd with a quote from W.E.B. DuBois: “The freedom to learn—has been bought by bitter sacrifice….we should fight to the last ditch to keep open the right to learn.”
Hayes credited Pringle with giving her the encouragement she needed to make the run for Congress by saying, “Don’t change any part of who you are. Walk in your truth.”
Speaking as a history teacher who was national teacher of the year, Hayes said, “Everything is at stake. I know how we got the 40 hour work week and paid time off and the right to organize. We used our collective voices. We used the power of the vote. Now we have to do that one more time.”
Speaking later with the People’s World, Hayes said she is ready to hold her own in Washington and that as a teacher “I know the art of collaboration.” She greeted other first time candidates for Congress in the country who, like herself, won hard-fought primaries and will “give voice to those who have not been heard.”
“People too will have to stay active and engaged and make sure not go dormant and silent after the election, so we can have your back at the state and local level,” she added.

Planned Parenthood protest

Gary Winfield July 10 2018.


With Alicia Hernandez Strong, Maria Horn, Dita Bhargava and Jahana Hayes.

WFP rally

Gary Winfield August 11 2018·


Attending Working FP Rally for Jahana Hayes! with Lindsay Farrell, Lori Pelletier and Eva Bermudez Zimmerman.

Socialist connections

Bortolleto connection

Jahana Hayes February 1 2019.


Jahana Hayes with Camila Bortolleto and Carolina Bortolleto.

Collective PAC


Launched in August of 2016, the Collective PAC is backing several candidates in 2018, including Jahana Hayes CT (5) [6]

WFP endorsements, 2018

CT Working Families August 13 2018: [7]


Have you made your plan to vote in the CT Democratic primary? Find your polling place here: https://portaldir.ct.gov/sots/LookUp.aspx

And remember to vote for our CTWFP endorsed candidates!

U.S. Congress:

  • CD 5 - Jahana Hayes


State Senate:

State House:

WFP support

CT Working Families September 24 2018:


We're proud to continue supporting Jahana Hayes in her inspiring race for Congress in the 5th Congressional District. Jahana is helping move Connecticut and the nation forward by championing big, smart ideas like #Medicare4All.

Folks can vote for Jahana on #RowC on November 6th, alongside 106 other great WFP candidates across the state. Find them all here: http://workingfamilies.org/ct-working-families-party-2018-endorsed-candidates/


U.S. Rep.-elect Jahana Hayes, hired a former Chris Murphy aide as her chief of staff.

Joe Dunn, a graduate of George Washington University, began working for then-Rep. Murphy in 2010 as his legislative director. Hayes also hired two other key staffers—Veronica DeLandro as district director and Jason Newton as communications director.[8]