Hannah Getahun at Business Insider reports that New York Assemblymember Yuh-Line Niou is running for the US House and would be its first openly autistic member.
"I think we hear a lot of the first and only sometimes," Niou told Insider. "While it's an amazing thing, I think that what's more important is that there are people understanding that it's also a really lonely thing. And I think that it really is important to have representation because you need that lens to talk about everything in policy."
Niou, a progressive Democrat and Taiwanese immigrant who represents New York's 65th district, announced her run for Congress this year in a high-profile race against Bill de Blasio and Rep. Mondaire Jones.
Niou's diagnosis became well known after Refinery 29 published an article discussing it in 2020. After parents and kids reached out to her relating to her, she became aware of how talking openly about her autism helped to "drive away stigma."
Among full-time politicians, disabled Americans are underrepresented. People with disabilities make up 6.3% of federal politicians, compared to 15.7% of all adults in America who are disabled, research from Rutgers shows.
"People with disabilities cannot achieve equality unless they are part of government decision-making," said Lisa Schur in the 2019 Rutgers report.
"One of the things that I really like to say is when you put in a ramp, we're all less likely to trip," Niou said. "Consider one another, we all do better."