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

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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.

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