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Tuesday, January 19, 2021

Rep Jess

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 Wisconsin.

Megan Magensky at WHP-TV:

 A newly elected Pennsylvania state representative is one of only a handful of openly autistic politicians in the country, and she’s ready to go to work for her community.

State Representative Jessica Benham (D-14th District) is basically the opposite of what you think about when you think politician.

She’s young, autistic and a member of the LGBTQ community. She says she’s ready to fight for everyone.

 Meghan Holohan at Today:

Growing up, Jessica Benham never saw people with autism in politics. In fact, she rarely even heard of women having autism. When the 29-year-old disability activist was sworn into the Pennsylvania House of Representatives last week, she became one of only a handful of politicians with autism across the United States and as a bisexual woman, one of a few LGBTQ women in politics.

“I never thought that running for office was going to be what I did. It wasn’t in the Jessica Benham plan,” she told TODAY. “I really felt the call from my community to step up for them."