Will 2018 be the year that more women get elected into political office? According to CBS News more than 500 women are running for all kinds of political positions. Some media folks are calling it “The Pink Wave”.
Jahana Hayes is just one example. In 2016 she was selected as the “National Teacher of the Year”. Now she is a candidate for the House of Representatives in the 5th District of Connecticut. I don’t know if it’s a ‘sexist thing or a political thing’ but 92 % of Democrats think it’s important that women get elected into political offices while only 50% of Republicans feel the same way.
To me, Jahana Heyes is an American success story of persistence and determination. She went from teen mom to become a Social Studies Teacher and mentor for at-risk kids in a high poverty school district in Waterbury CONN. to “National Teacher of the Year”. The students would say she didn’t get it, and she told them she did.
Hayes grew up in public housing until her family got evicted when she was in the fifth grade. Her mother was an addict most of her life. When Hayes got pregnant at 16, she earned her high school diploma in a program for teen parents in the basement of Waterbury’s City Hall. When she made it to college she worked three jobs to take care of her family and while earning her degree.
When she returned home to teach, she realized that a lot of the students were living in the same conditions that she had, when she was younger. She told them her story and then she developed programs to help them to overcome some of the challenges she had faced when she was in their situation. For her efforts she was recognized as “Connecticut’s Teacher of the Year”.
As the “National Teacher of the Year”, she traveled around the country and the world leading workshops for other educators. When she went to Tunisia on a trip sponsored by the State Department as part of her duties, her daughter called and told her that her grandson wanted to know if her trip to African was to find a new home? Someone kid on the school bus told him that, “We have a new President and they are going to build a wall, so all the Brown people will have to leave”. That’s probably when she got the idea that she could do more than just teach.
I visited Tunisia when I was stationed at Wheelus Air Force Base in Libya during the base closure by Col. Muammar Gahafi. The Base Commander Col. Daniel “Chappie James” left a lasting impression on me because he went to become a trail blazer. I believe Jahana Heyes will go on to blaze some trails before she is through.