Search This Blog

Friday, February 28, 2020

Autistic Candidate in Pennsylvania

In The Politics of Autism, I write:  "Support from the general public will be an important political asset for autistic people. Another will be their sheer numbers, since a larger population of identified autistic adults will mean more autistic voters and activists."  Previous posts have discussed autistic officeholders and political candidates in New YorkGeorgiaTexas, and Washington State

Rhuaridh Marr at Metro Weekly:
The Allegheny Democratic Party endorsed a Trump supporter who posts anti-transgender screeds on social media instead of a fellow primary candidate who is a progressive and bisexual.
Now the state party and influential Democratic backers are denouncing the decision and vowing not to support the candidate if she wins the primary.
Candidate Heather Kass has railed about Obamacare, said she wished addicts would overdose to save public funds, and called people on public assistance “lazy no good idiots.”
“Junkies get everything we should just make the drugs legal let them OD and less s— in the world…” she wrote on Facebook. The county is one of the hardest hit by the nationwide opioid crisis.
Her opponent, Jessica Benham, is a bisexual disability advocate who is also autistic. She has been endorsed by the LGBTQ Victory Fund; she would be the first LGBTQ woman elected to the Pennsylvania state legislature.
In October, Zack Budryk reported at The Hill that Benham would be the first autistic woman in a state legislature:
Benham is quick to note that she would not be the first autistic women elected to office overall, as there are two currently serving on school boards. Both these cases and her own candidacy, she said, illustrate the need for disabled people who want a seat at the table to get involved locally.
“Disabled people make up approximately 20 percent of the population in the United States, but emerging research confirms what we’ve known on the ground — we don’t have equitable representation in government,” Benham told The Hill. “I want to use my perspective to ensure that disabled people have the same access and opportunities as everyone else in our district.”