Facebook: NBC Connecticut
Jahana Hayes made history last night, winning the Connecticut 5th District Congressional race and being the first African American woman to represent the state in Congress.
As seen in the unofficial results with 98 percent of the precincts reporting, Hayes won about 56 percent of the votes tallied while republican Manny Santos had about 44 percent. Santos conceded early Wednesday morning and said on Twitter, “The outcome was not as we had wanted; nonetheless, the voters of the District have spoken and have elected Jahana Hayes.”
The major issue of this election was voter turnout within this district, as cities like Waterbury prepared for high turnout. Both candidates are from Connecticut cities. Hayes, 45, grew up in Waterbury and was a former school teacher of the year, while Santos, 50, was raised in Hartford, but recently served as the Mayor of Meriden from 2013 to 2015.
According to a report by NBC Connecticut in October, Waterbury officials were anticipating a 60 percent voter turnout, which is more than some presidential elections. Notably, this is a sharp increase from the elections in 2008, when President Barack Obama was elected for his first term in the White House.
Hayes advocated for increased technical training programs in order to fill jobs in the manufacturing sector and change the makeup of the Connecticut economy. She also looks to decrease the wage gap between men and women, particularly women of color. Also, she is an advocate for small business growth because of their increasing importance in the state’s economy.
When approached for an interview, the campaign communications team sent this statement on Hayes’ behalf, “Many people don’t see Connecticut as a place of economic opportunity, and I want to change that. I’ll support and expand job training programs, ensuring that members of our community who are looking for jobs are prepared to fill available positions, and will support job creation initiatives. I’ll help the thousands of small businesses in the 5th District, which are an incredibly important part of our economy, continue to grow and thrive. I’ll support raising the minimum wage and will work to close the gender pay gap.”
Santos campaigned for decreasing taxes for the middle class, increasing job growth and making it affordable for small businesses to succeed in the United States. Along with economic growth, he advocated for border security and immigration regulations. His overall goal was to make living more affordable and influencing state and municipal governments to follow in the direction of the federal government.
“We can create a national climate to lower taxes and regulations, but the same thing has to happen at the state and municipal level,” Santos stated, “Waterbury has to be able to prioritize its spending for the necessary items, lower taxes, and make permit processes easier for companies to open up a business in the city, so they can employ the very people that are unemployed right now.”
As of early this morning, voter turnout was about 65 percent in Connecticut, showing an increase from the last midterm election results in 2014. In declaring victory, Hayes condemned her critics saying, “Not only am I built for this, I’m Brass City built for it.”