In one of the biggest upsets in recent political memory, a 28-year-old rookie candidate named Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez unseated a 10-term congressman who was set to become the next House Majority Leader. Two years later, Congresswoman Ocasio-Cortez, 31, is hard at work representing New York’s 14th district and shaking up politics in DC. Here’s five things you should know about AOC:
1. She was born in the Bronx. While Ocasio-Cortez was born in the New York City borough, she grew up in suburban Yorktown, about 30 miles away. As a child, she would spend her weekends in the Bronx with her cousins, whom she considered as close as siblings, she told Vanity Fair. Now, as a member of Congress, she represents the eastern Bronx and parts of north-central Queens.
2. Her mother is Puerto Rican and her father was a Bronx native.
3. She’s an architect of the Green New Deal. The Green New Deal is a congressional package that lays out a plan for tackling climate change. Introduced by AOC and MA Senator Ed Markey, the Green New Deal asks the federal government to “wean the United States from fossil fuels and curb planet-warming greenhouse gas emissions across the economy. It also aims to guarantee new high-paying jobs in clean energy industries,” according to The New York Times. The resolution is non-binding, meaning that even after Congress approves the plan, it won’t become law.
4. She ran on the premise of representing working men and women and not corporate interests. In a two minute commercial launched during her 2018 primary run, AOC says, “I’ve worked with expectant mothers, I’ve waited tables, and led classrooms, and going into politics wasn’t in the plan,” while she’s seen in pictures of people of all races and ages. “But after 20 years of the same representation, we have to ask: Who has New York been changing for? It’s clear these changes haven’t been for us and we need a champion. It’s time for a New York that working families can afford.”
5. She was an organizer for Bernie Sanders’ 2016 and 2020 presidential bids. The 76-year-old progressive Vermont senator is so proud of her victory. He issued a statement saying, “She took on the entire local Democratic establishment in her district and won a very strong victory. She demonstrated once again what progressive grassroots politics can do.”