Jessica Benham has made herstory in Pennsylvania.
Benham, who is bisexual, is the first out LGBTQ+ woman elected to the state legislature. She will also become one of only a few out autistic state lawmakers nationwide.
The Democrat bested her Republican opponent, Ed Moeller, in state House of Representatives District 36, located in the greater Pittsburgh area. The seat had been held by another Democrat, Harry Readshaw, since 1995. He did not seek reelection.
Benham thanked her supporters Wednesday in a celebratory tweet. "It will be my absolute honor to represent you in Harrisburg. I’m ready to get to work!" she wrote.
The University of Pittsburgh graduate is cofounder of and director of development for the Pittsburgh Center for Autistic Advocacy, the only LGBTQ+ autistic-led advocacy group in the Pittsburgh area. According to her Twitter bio, as a state lawmaker she will be "fighting for healthcare, workers’ rights, & a clean environment."
Benham is part of a "rainbow wave" of over 100 LGBTQ+ candidates that swept into office this week.