Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez is a 28-year-old who defeated 10-term incumbent Rep. Joe Crowley in New York City’s 14th congressional district on Tuesday, June 26. This was Ocasio-Cortez’s first-ever term.
Ocasio-Cortez’s campaign was the first time in 14 years a member of his own party has attempted to unseat Crowley, who chairs the Queens County Democrats.
Some of Ocasio-Cortez’s campaign promises included universal health care, a federal jobs guarantee and the abolition of ICE.
Ocasio-Cortez’s own story begins in the Bronx, the same borough that, along with parts of Queens, delivered for her on primary day. She was born and raised there, the daughter of working class Puerto Rican parents — her father born in the South Bronx (he died in 2008, while she was in college); her mother on the island — she went on to study at Boston University and work in the office of liberal lion Sen. Ted Kennedy of Massachusetts.
When she returned home, Ocasio-Cortez worked as a community organizer and, eventually, with economic stresses rooted in the recession and the loss of her father taking hold, began low-wage, long-hour work at restaurants to help support her family.
During the 2016 presidential season, she worked as an organizer for Sen. Bernie Sanders, who ran in the Democratic primary. In 2017, Ocasio-Cortez launched her campaign to unseat Crowley, the powerful Democrat who chairs the party in Queens County.
Cortez, who was born in the Bronx to working-class Puerto Ricans, will begin her term in 2019. Cortez studied at Boston University and went on to work for Sen. Ted Kennedy of Massachusetts.
She is currently a member of the Democratic Socialists of America. Cortez also has the ability to connect with millennials, as she once tweeted “A Girl Has No Name: Headlines from the Political Patriarchy,” which is a Game Of Thrones reference.
On Thursday, January 3, Cortez was sworn into Congress. On that same day, video of her from college re-enacting the dance moves from The Breakfast Club went viral. After being sworn into Congress, Ocasio-Cortez began earning $174,000 per year thanks to her congressional salary.