Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez’s ascent within the Democratic Party has been incredible to observe over the last few months. She quickly transcended into the spotlight due to her much deserved victory in New York’s 14th Congressional District, which unseated Joe Crowley, the fourth-ranking House Democrat. After securing victory in the general election, she has made history. Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez is the youngest woman elected to Congress, at just 29 years old. This does not, by any means, imply that she is inexperienced, as many conservatives are suggesting. She is more than fit for the position, and I personally anticipate the impact she will have when she takes office.
A native of the Bronx, Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez was born in October of 1989 and spent her early years there. Her family later moved to Yorktown Heights, in Westchester County so she could access a better school district. She graduated from Yorktown High School in 2007 and went on to study International Relations and Economics at Boston University, graduating cum laude in 2011.
After college, Ocasio-Cortez returned to the Bronx and worked as a bartender and waitress. She worked as an organizer for Bernie Sanders’ 2016 presidential campaign. She spent time traveling across the United States to see, firsthand, the conditions in Flint, Michigan and at Standing Rock. Her travels further drove her activism, as she bore witness to everyday people at North Dakota giving everything they had to fight the Dakota Access Pipeline. Prior to this, she had felt that only those with access to wealth and power could run for office. It was this experience that influenced her to become involved in politics and advocate for her own community.
Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez does not officially take office until January of 2019. However, she has already begun building a legacy of transparency and activism, as she has used social media to demonstrate much of the process of orienting new Congress members and organize for radical change. A self-declared champion for the working class, her commentary about systemic inequality and the lack of diverse representation in Congress has defied the traditional norms of congressional “insiders”. She has already begun building a coalition within Congress to push for her “Green New Deal,” an environmental and economic initiative focused on stanching the effects of climate change and creating jobs.