Candidate with autism hopes to make history in New York State Assembly race

Andrew Hyman
Updated: February 09, 2020 10:03 PM
Created: February 09, 2020 06:40 PM

ROCHESTER N.Y. (WHEC) – A local candidate for the New York State Assembly is hoping to make history. 

Dylan Dailor, 20, says he's the first assembly candidate with autism among the two major parties. Dailor was first diagnosed with autism when he was just seven.

"I don't want anyone to vote for me because they feel bad, this isn't a come from behind story," Dailor says.

The Greece native, who was endorsed by the Monroe County Democratic Committee at its convention last week, is running for the 134th District seat. That seat is currently held by incumbent Peter Lawrence, a Republican. 

"It was time for someone to step up and do their civic duty," Dailor says.

The sociology major at SUNY Brockport may hit the books during the day, but most of his other hours are spent hitting the streets. The 134th District covers Hilton, Spencerport, and Greece, and Dailor says, he’s visited with voters all across it.

While he says feedback has been positive, Dailor says he faces several doubts, not just with his age, but with the disorder, as autism can impact social skills. Dailor says he has overcome childhood struggles with autism. He says the disorder still plays a role in his life, but not to the same level as it did.

To his doubters, Dailor says the proof is in the papers, as he has already handed out several voter petitions. By law, Dailor needs at least 500 signatures.

On the issues, Dailor says he’s most passionate about education improvements and the development of green energy. However, he says he’s open to whatever worries people in the district the most.

"Being autistic, I have a very different view of the way that representative government should work, and it involves actually interacting with your constituents on a regular basis, and not just in election years," Dailor said

It’s a familiar approach for Dailor, as he has used his experience with autism as an opportunity to give a voice to people on the autism spectrum. Dailor has spoken through several TEDx lectures, and in 2015, he authored his own book, "I Am Not a Freak".

With the road to Election Day still many months away, he carries one message:

"We can really do anything, I mean it doesn't matter whether you consider us high functioning or low functioning, people on the spectrum can truly do anything."

The Democratic primary is on June 23.

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