Congressional hopefuls Hayes and Pressley attend Sunday student forum

October 25, 2018 GMT

Two rising stars in the Democratic Party who are part of a national wave of minority candidates in the midterm elections will headline a student forum on Sunday.

Jahana Hayes, the 2016 National Teacher of the Year running for Connecticut’s 5th District, and Ayanna Pressley, who stunned Boston by beating a 10-term Congressman in the September primary for Massachusetts’ 7th District, will attend a late afternoon forum at New Britain’s Central Connecticut State University.

Sunday’s forum, called “Your Voice Matters” could be preview of January, when New England will have at least one and likely two black Congresswomen in Washington, D.C.

Hayes, a first-time candidate who was raised in Waterbury, is favored to beat the GOP’s Manny Santos, who is running as a Trump Republican. Pressley, who trounced Democratic U.S. Rep. Michael Capuano on Sept. 4, has no Republican challenger on Nov. 6.

Hayes and Pressley have earned national media attention, along with New York’s Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez, as the kind of underdog progressive minority candidate that Democrats are embracing in the 2018 midterm elections. Ocasio-Cortez shocked the party in June by upsetting U.S. Rep. Joe Crowley, an establishment Democrat, for the 14th District representing the Bronx and Queens.

Sunday’s forum is planned from 3 to 5 p.m. at the downtown campus of CCSU, which attracts students from nearby Massachusetts towns.