Tag: blacks running for Congress

Former National Teacher of the Year Jahana Hayes Running for U.S. Congress

PHOTO: Jahana Hayes, left, a high school history teacher from Waterbury, CT, celebrates winning the 2016 National Teacher of the Year with President Barack Obama at the White House in Washington, May 3, 2016.
Jahana Hayes, left, a high school history teacher from Waterbury, CT, celebrates winning the 2016 National Teacher of the Year with President Barack Obama at the White House in Washington, May 3, 2016. (Jim Watson/AFP/Getty Images)

by Meghan Keneally via abcnews.com

In some cases, courage is contagious. That was the case for Jahana Hayes, a longtime teacher who decided to make her first foray into professional politics.

Hayes told ABC News that the wave of new candidates running for office across the country without formal political experience “gave me the courage to say, ‘You know what, maybe I will say yes this time.’”

Hayes, who gained country-wide attention in 2016 when she was named National Teacher of the Year and awarded the associated crystal apple statuette by then-President Obama, said that the flood of people running for office this year, in spite of a lack of political experience, helped motivate her to run.

She said that she had been approached “by folks in my community” to run for other positions in the past, including state senator and various executive offices in the state. But this time, when Rep. Elizabeth Etsy announced that she wouldn’t be seeking re-election, “it was just different.”

She said she saw so many candidates across the country “bucking the trend that you have to check off all these boxes before you’re even considered to be viable” and it helped give her “the courage for me to stand up this time.”

One of the people who gave her encouragement to throw her hat in the ring was Sen. Chris Murphy, who Hayes called “a tremendous advocate.” Murphy hasn’t issued a formal endorsement in the 5th District’s race – and because of the state’s Democratic Party rules based on delegate counts from the party’s nominating convention, Hayes’ opponent Mary Glassman got the party’s endorsement – but his office confirmed to ABC News that he did encourage Hayes to run for Congress.

Hayes and Glassman are running for an open seat, but Glassman has decades of experience in Connecticut politics, having served as a selectman and nominee for the lieutenant governor twice. “There’s an appetite for change,” Hayes said.

Hayes, 45, is one of a growing number of teachers now running for office, including some in states where drops in teacher funding prompted frustrated teachers into political action.

The mother-of-four, who is married to a detective, said that she is “concerned” by the current administration, pointing to the country’s immigration policy (which she said “is really one that tears me apart”), healthcare, and foreign relations as areas of change that have been particularly troubling. “I think that everything is about timing and I think that I probably would not have seriously considered this four years ago,” she said.

Like so many others who have decided to turn to politics, her personal narrative is a big part of how she feels a connection with voters. Hayes’ campaign website notes that she grew up in a Connecticut housing project, her family struggled with poverty and addiction, and after she got pregnant as a teen, “all hopes for any upward mobility seemed beyond her grasp.”

Hayes’ work as a high school social studies teacher first brought her to the White House for the National Teaching Award presentation in 2016, but then brought her across the country. She said she visited 30 different states in the year after the award, as is custom for all recipients, and that helped expose her to the universal problems facing communities across the country.

“The things that I’m struggling with and the things that my students are struggling with and the things that we’re struggling with in Waterbury [Connecticut] are not that different from the things that they’re struggling with in Wisconsin or California,” she said.

After finishing her year-long stint as a national teachers ambassador of sorts, Hayes returned to her school district, working on teacher recruitment instead of in the classroom, and it’s a position she still holds.

“It’s difficult” working full time and running a campaign, she said, “and I could have probably taken a leave of absence… but the whole point of me doing this is to stress that everyone should get involved” in the political process.

She now has until the state’s Democratic primary is held on Aug. 14 to get enough support to beat out Glassman for a spot in the general election.

“I really have to get out there… to have face-to-face voter contact,” she said.

Source: https://abcnews.go.com/Politics/national-teacher-year-now-running-congress/story?id=56624692

Record Number of African-Americans Running For Congress in 2014

mqdefaultWASHINGTON — A record number of African Americans are running for federal office this year, but their advances in elected office have been met by increased racial polarization in politics, particularly in the Deep South.

According to an analysis by David Bositis, an expert on African-American politics, there are 82 black nominees in the two major parties running in 2014, surpassing the 2012 record of 72 candidates.

Of the 82 candidates running, 64 are Democrats and 18 are Republicans, and all but three are seeking election to the U.S. House.

Two black Democrats, Sen. Cory Booker of New Jersey and Joyce Dickerson of South Carolina, and one black Republican, Sen. Tim Scott of South Carolina, are on the ballot for U.S. Senate seats.

Among the candidates are four African-American women who are likely to be new additions to the U.S. House: Democrats Brenda Lawrence of Michigan, Alma Adams of North Carolina, and Stacey Plaskett of the Virgin Islands, as well as Republican Mia Love of Utah, who would be the first black Republican woman elected to Congress.

Candidate Brenda Lawrence
Candidate Brenda Lawrence

Currently there are 44 African Americans serving in Congress, and their ranks are forecast to grow in November, which means next January will bring in a Congress with the highest number of blacks serving in U.S. history.

The growth of blacks in Congress has been most notable in the House Democratic Caucus. After the 2012 elections, House Democrats became the first congressional faction in history to be more than half women and minorities. The 2014 election slate suggests that trend will not reverse itself anytime soon.

White men continue to dominate the Republican Party, and white men make up the majority of Senate Democrats.

These milestones are not without downsides, Bositis notes. The nomination of black candidates, particularly in the Deep South, is driven in part by the massive exodus of whites from the Democratic Party ranks, which has fueled more racial polarization than harmony.

“I wish I could write with confidence that these increases in black major party nominees was a positive development, but the fact is that many of the increases are occurring in states (especially in the South) where most whites are withdrawing from Democratic party politics — leaving black candidates the nominations by default,” he wrote.

article by Susan Davis via usatoday.com