She is an American politician serving as the U.S. Representative for New York’s 14th congressional district since 2019. Ocasio-Cortez is among the first female members of the Democratic Socialists of America elected to serve in Congress. Taking office at age 29, Ocasio-Cortez is the youngest woman ever to serve in the United States Congress. She has been noted for her substantial social media presence relative to her fellow members of Congress. Ocasio-Cortez attended Boston University, where she double-majored in international relations and economics, graduating cum laude. She was previously an activist and worked as a waitress and bartender before running for Congress in 2018. She advocates a progressive platform that includes Medicare for All, a federal jobs guarantee, the Green New Deal and abolishing the U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement.
Ocasio-Cortez is remarkably youthful while on her first anniversary serving as congressional representatives, she said, “It feels like it’s been 45”. She makes impassioned statements of moral outrage and known for her robust collection of rented designer blazers. The 29-year-old has brought a different color palette and an eagerness to the usual proceedings that has shifted the stale air here. One can only imagine the charisma and throngs of admirers and selfie-requesters in Congress of AOC and she is more like a superstar or Hollywood famed actor. However, in terms of House hierarchy, she is just a freshman from the Bronx has taken over the place.
Ocasio-Cortez is well known for her concise and egregious Tweets, but she says this confidence was hard won. Last June, Ocasio-Cortez herself thought that digs from critics who watched her steamroll Crowley – at the time the fourth-most powerful Democrat in the House – as a bartender, might prove correct, that she would be a flash in the pan. She recalls when Senator Claire McCaskill described her as “a bright shiny new object.” “I felt that way,” she admits. Even three months ago, she says, “I would have been terrified” of saying what she said about conditions at the border. She would have agonized over whether she had “compromised the movement.” Now, she trusts her instincts more. “It’s rooted in faith that if I vocalize what I think is the morally correct position, people will crop up and support it.” Her staff members do not control her personal accounts; they sometimes find out what she has said by whether or not it is trending on Twitter the next day.
“It makes a very big difference once other people know your heart, and I’ve tried to make an effort to have conversations with lots of members so they understand where I’m coming from.” That might be the key to Ocasio-Cortez’s biggest staying power in Congress: she can express unlikable, uncomfortable ideas (this week, that conditions at the border are cruel and fascist, and have long been so) while somehow remaining likable herself. Even to Mike Johnson, the Louisiana representative who has called the Green New Deal “a guise” to “usher in the principles of socialism,” but who practically gushes about introducing her to his kids on the House floor. It’s what has Ted Cruz reaching out for bipartisan partnership. She describes this capacity as an organizer’s door-knocking aptitude for “meet[ing] people where they’re at.” And she happens to believe that more people can be persuaded to her side than to the other.
While commenting on the ongoing pandemic, she said that, “COVID-19 is not creating new problems. It is pouring gasoline on our existing ones. We deserve more than a return to the system that allowed this pandemic that devastated our lives and livelihood”.
Free of ties to corporate lobbyists and wealthy donors who keep congressional members from speaking, or tweeting, without prep and PR, Ocasio-Cortez is an enigma to many. She must be a plant, a freak, funded by dark money, selling out, flaming out, and giving up. In reality, she is held to account by something huge and overwhelming, burdensome at times: the people-powered movement behind her, which will be there even if she does not get a second term.
“I don’t think too much about [the future]. I’d probably say the most in the future I think about has to do with personal stuff, like how I would handle having children,” she says.
Alexandria was born in the Bronx to working-class parents. Her father was a small business owner from the South Bronx. Her mother was born in Puerto Rico—growing up around a large family near Arecibo. Her mother cleaned homes, and everyone pitched in on the family business.
From an early age, Alexandria grew up with a deep understanding of income inequality. The state of Bronx public schools in the late 80s and early 90s sent her parents on a search for a solution. She ended up attending public school in Yorktown—40 minutes north of her birthplace. As a result, much of her early life was spent in transit between her tight-knit extended family in the Bronx and her daily student life. It was clear to her, even then, that the zip code a child was born in determined much of their destiny.