Jahana Hayes represents Connecticut’s 5th District in the United States House of Representatives. The district spans northwest and central Connecticut and includes Danbury, Litchfield County, the Farmington Valley, the Naugatuck Valley, Meriden, and her hometown of Waterbury. She serves on committees of Education and Workforce and Agriculture, where she is the Ranking Member of the Subcommittee on Nutrition, Foreign Agriculture, and Horticulture.
Areas of legislative focus for Congresswoman Hayes are equitable access to quality education, affordable health care, labor, agriculture, and veterans issues. Additional priority areas include environment, immigration reform, gun violence prevention, social justice, transportation, and working in a bipartisan way to bring positive change to the lives of every person in our community.
During her Congressional tenure, Congresswoman Hayes has had 8 bills signed into law. To date, she has introduced 56 and cosponsored over 1,600 pieces of legislation across a broad range of topics, including education, veterans issues, environment, healthcare, nutrition, and agriculture. Congresswoman Hayes has worked with both the Trump and Biden Administrations in a bipartisan, bicameral way to bring millions of dollars in assistance back to Connecticut.
Congresswoman Hayes was elected in November 2018, making her the first African-American woman ever to represent the state of Connecticut in Congress. Before running for office, Hayes was a history teacher for 15 years at John F. Kennedy High School in Waterbury, where she was named Waterbury Teacher of the Year and Connecticut Teacher of the Year before going on to earn the distinction of 2016 National Teacher of the Year (NTOY). In her capacity as NTOY, Hayes traveled the country and the world as an ambassador for public education, engaging stakeholders in discussions meant to improve student outcomes.
Congresswoman Hayes’ story is one of achievement despite the odds and overcoming the obstacles that life can place before you. She has been quoted as saying that “education saved her life” and is a fierce advocate for ensuring equitable access to opportunity for. Congresswoman Hayes strives to bring the same passion, determination, work ethic, and empathy that her community has come to know and respect to the halls of Congress.
Hayes is a graduate of Naugatuck Valley Community College, Southern Connecticut State University, the University of Saint Joseph, and the University of Bridgeport, having earned a Bachelor of Arts in history and secondary education, a Master’s of Arts in curriculum and instruction, and a 6th-year degree in administrative leadership.