State Representative, District 36
Jessica Benham is the Director of Development for the Pittsburgh Center for Autistic Advocacy (PCAA), a grassroots self-advocacy project run by Autistic people for Autistic people. After moving back home to Pittsburgh following college, she co-founded PCAA, which is the only LGBTQ Autistic-led advocacy organization in the Greater Pittsburgh Area. Through her work at PCAA and elsewhere, Jessica has worked to ensure that individuals with disabilities are treated fairly in the legislative process and has upheld a commitment to cross-movement solidarity, firmly believing that marginalized people must work together to build power. She has fought against the forced institutionalization of disabled people, stood with others against the injustices perpetuated at the Allegheny County Jail against Trans people, advocated against legislation that would take away reproductive freedoms, and fought for a comprehensive overall of our healthcare system to ensure universal coverage. As a current graduate student at the University of Pittsburgh, Jessica has been involved in the efforts to organize a union of graduate workers. She knows firsthand the importance of organizing and the power that collective bargaining can have. In addition to her work and academic career, Jessica is also a deeply and actively engaged community member in District 36. She has been a member of the Zone 3 Public Safety Council since 2016, serving in a number of leadership roles over the past several years and attending community meetings throughout the Zone, which covers much of District 36.
Jessica is running for state legislature because she continues to hear from her neighbors throughout the district that the community is ready for a State Representative that is truly committed to Democratic and progressive values. She is running because she wants to build on her background as a community organizer and disability rights activist in order to fight for access to quality healthcare for all, to protect reproductive freedom, and for strategic and significant investments in our infrastructure. She looks forward to continuing to hear from community members in order to better understand their concerns and ideas for how to build a brighter future. Jessica is committed to serving as a representative of the people, not special interests.