What Unites Us - Education

Education is a top issue for every candidate and every voter. From making sure our children receive the education they deserve to student loan debt, many issues impact all voters. And this year, more teachers than ever are running for office. Over 1000 are seeking offices, most on the state level.

In this “What Unites Us” we highlight a two of the teachers running for Congress.

Jahana Hayes, Candidate for U.S. House of Representatives (D-CT05)

At the top of our list is former Teacher of the Year Jahana Hayes running in Connecticut for Congress. A former social studies teacher at John F. Kennedy High School, she currently serves as the Talent and Professional Development Supervisor for Waterbury Public Schools. Hayes is known for her passion, energy, commitment to community and unifying presence. {Meet Jahana}

Jahana Hayes receiving the National Teacher of the Year Award from President Obama in 2016.

Jahana Hayes receiving the National Teacher of the Year Award from President Obama in 2016.

Preserving the public education system and viewing it as an investment in future generations will be a priority if I am elected. I know the power of education and understand that many of our most vulnerable children rely on the education that is provided through the public education system. Education saved my life, and I will ensure that all children from all communities have access to a high quality education.
— Jahana Hayes, JahanaHayes.com

Jahana’s story is a testament to the power of education to change someone’s life. “Hayes grew up in the Berkeley Heights housing project in Waterbury and her life was illustrated by the predictable cycle of poverty. Her family struggled with addiction, relied on public assistance, and at one point lost their apartment. Hayes got pregnant as a teenager and all hopes for any upward mobility seemed beyond her grasp. The people in her community and her strong desire for an education propelled her forward. She enrolled in Naugatuck Valley Community College, went on to get her four year degree at Southern Connecticut State University and her masters and advanced degrees from the University of Saint Joseph and University of Bridgeport, all while working to support her young family.” {Meet Jahana}

Now a married mother of four, she knows how important this election is to determining the future for children everywhere. "I know that the people of the 5th District want someone in Washington who will fight hard for them. I want them to know that I will do everything I can to serve them and the state I love to the best of my ability, because our journey is not determined by where we begin but rather where we are going. I know the future of my city and my state and our country is bright, because I see the possibilities every day in every person I encounter. And most importantly, I want my children and your children to experience a better, brighter future.” {Meet Jahana}

Chrissy Houlahan, Candidate for the U.S. House of Representatives (D-PA06)

We need to stand up and speak out against actions that threaten our core beliefs and priorities. We owe this to our children and to future generations so that they may realize their potential and change the world for the better. I never thought I would run for elected office, but service does not stop when you leave the Armed Forces. That is why I am running for Congress.
— Chrissy Houlahan

Chrissy is teacher and a Veteran. She earned her engineering degree from Stanford with an ROTC scholarship and received my M.S. in Technology and Policy from MIT. She was a Captain in the USAFR; 3 years Active and 13 years Inactive Reserve. Chrissy worked as a chemistry teacher in North Philadelphia and was a Teach for America Corps member. She also served as President and COO/CFO for Springboard Collaborative, a Philadelphia-based nonprofit focused on improving early childhood literacy in underserved communities country-wide. She also served as COO of AND1 Basketball, helping transform the company from a startup to a major apparel and footwear brand and was the founding COO of B-Lab – a nonprofit that promotes B Corporations and good business practices. {see About Chrissy}

“Like healthcare and public safety, education is a human right.  Local, state and national government needs to support affordable, high quality education that prepares everyone, child and adult alike, for the world and economy of tomorrow.  Progress toward this goal can only be achieved through a fully funded, revitalized public school system in which teachers are respected and students are valued, and by providing access to higher education for all who seek it.

As a navy brat, I attended public schools on both coasts. As an adult, I worked as a chemistry teacher in North Philadelphia. I learned first-hand about the pressures on teachers and students in that environment. Subsequently, I led a non-profit focused on early childhood literacy. I am a product of strong public schools, I have studied in them, worked with and in them, and will fight for them in Congress.” {see Priorities - Great Schools for Every Child}

Our “What Unites Us” Series is highlighting women running for Congress from all parties who have something in common – and something we may even have in common with them.

We encourage you to learn more about all the women running for office in this MidTerm election. To learn about ALL women running, visit the Center for American Women in Politics at Rutgers University who lists all women running at the National and State level along with links to their websites.

To help 50/50 by 2020 help these candidates and other women running for office, visit our Donate page.