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Peruvian man with Down Syndrome runs for parliament

Bryan Russell has Down syndrome and does daily speech exercises, putting pens and corks in his mouth to help build up low muscle tone there. He is also waging a long-shot bid to become a national Peruvian lawmaker, going door to door in Lima to ask for votes, VOA reports.

Russell, 27, wants to use his campaign to raise awareness about people with developmental disabilities and he says he represents an alternative to the scourge of corruption in Peru that has brought down presidents and weakened democratic institutions.”I’m someone clean, honest, transparent,” Russell said in an interview with The Associated Press. He spoke while sitting next to Amor, a pet dog he rescued from the street.The purpose of politicking, he said, is to “break the paradigm” that people with Down syndrome can’t be independent. Russell may be the first person with Down syndrome to run for public office anywhere, according to the Global Down Syndrome Foundation.

“We are thrilled that Bryan Russell is running for Congress in Peru,” said Michelle Sie Whitten, president and CEO of the foundation. “As far as we know, he is the first professional who has Down syndrome running for a publicly elected office, and he is showing the world that we need diversity in all areas of society including in our governments.”

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