Jahana Hayes becomes Connecticut's first black woman elected to congress

Posted: Updated:
WATERBURY -

Democrat Jahana Hayes defeated Republican Manny Santos in the 5th Congressional District becoming Connecticut's first black woman to be elected to congress.

Hayes and Santos went head-to-head Tuesday for the seat being vacated by Rep. Elizabeth Esty.

From growing up in a public housing unit in Waterbury to becoming pregnant as a teenager, Hayes was thrust into the spotlight when she was named National Teacher of the Year in 2016 by former President Barack Obama.

Hayes declared her win and gave her victory speech before the race between herself and former Meriden mayor Santos was called.

During her campaign, Hayes called herself the underdog and ran an anti-establishment campaign, aligning herself with her constituents rather than the establishment.

This year saw a record-breaking number of women elected across the nation, especially minority women. Two Native Americans and two Muslims will take seats in Congress for the first time.

The LGBT community also saw victories Tuesday. In Colorado, the nation's first openly gay governor was elected.

Hayes says she will not take being a woman and a minority representing the state in Washington, D.C. lightly.

  • Connecticut SlideshowsSlideshowsMore>>

  • Your November Snow Photos

    Your November Snow Photos

    Thursday, November 15 2018 6:40 PM EST2018-11-15 23:40:49 GMT
    Send us your snow photos!Send us your snow photos!

    Viewer photos of the Nov. 15, 2018 snowfall. 

    Viewer photos of the Nov. 15, 2018 snowfall. 

  • Behind the Scenes of Disney On Ice

    Behind the Scenes of Disney On Ice

    Behind the Scenes: Disney on IceBehind the Scenes: Disney on Ice

    Take a sneak peak behind the scenes of Disney on Ice! The show made a stop at the Nassau Coliseum.

    Take a sneak peak behind the scenes of Disney on Ice! The show made a stop at the Nassau Coliseum.

  • 2018 Country Music Award Association Awards

    2018 Country Music Award Association Awards

    Photos from the 2018 Country Music Award Association Awards on Nov. 14, 2018.

    Photos from the 2018 Country Music Award Association Awards on Nov. 14, 2018.

sorry to interrupt
your first 20 are free
Access to News 12 is free for Optimum, Comcast®, Spectrum Networks® and Service ElectricSM customers.
Please enjoy 20 complimentary views of articles, photos, and videos during the next 30 days.
you have reached your 20 view limit
Access to News 12 is free for Optimum, Comcast®, Spectrum Networks® and Service ElectricSM customers.
Please login or create an account to continue enjoying News12.
Our sign-up page is undergoing maintenance and is not currently available. However, you will be given direct access to news12.com while we complete our upgrade.
When we are back up and running you will be prompted at that time to complete your sign in. Until then, enjoy the local news, weather, traffic and more that's "as local as local news gets."