Youngest Woman Ever to Serve in the United States Congress
"Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez, born October 13, 1989, also known by her initials, AOC, is an American politician and member of the Democratic Party. Since January 3, 2019, she has been the U.S. Representative for New York's 14th congressional district, which includes the eastern part of The Bronx and portions of north-central Queens in New York City.
Ocasio-Cortez drew national recognition when she won the Democratic Party's primary election for New York's 14th congressional district on June 26, 2018, defeating the ten-term incumbent Congressman, Democratic Caucus Chair Joe Crowley, in what was widely seen as the biggest upset victory in the 2018 midterm election primaries. She beat Republican opponent Anthony Pappas in the November 6, 2018, general election, and at age 29, became the youngest woman ever to serve in the United States Congress. Ocasio-Cortez has been noted for her substantial social media presence relative to her fellow members of Congress.
Ocasio-Cortez is a member of the Democratic Socialists of America. Ocasio-Cortez and Rashida Tlaib are the first two members of the group in Congress. She advocates for a progressive platform that includes Medicare For All, a federal jobs guarantee, a proposed Green New Deal, abolishing U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement, free public college and trade school, and a 70% marginal tax rate for incomes above $10 million. Before running for Congress, she served as an educational director for the 2017 Northeast Collegiate World Series for the National Hispanic Institute. Ocasio-Cortez majored in international relations and economics at Boston University, graduating cum laude in 2011…
Ocasio-Cortez was born in The Bronx, New York City, on October 13, 1989, to Blanca Ocasio-Cortez (née Cortez) and Sergio Ocasio in a Catholic family. She has a younger brother, Gabriel Ocasio-Cortez. Her father was born in the Bronx to a Puerto Rican family and became an architect; her mother was born in Puerto Rico. She has described her Puerto Rican community as an amalgamation: "We are black; we are indigenous; we are Spanish; we are European." Until age five, Ocasio-Cortez lived with her family in an apartment in the neighborhood of Parkchester. The family moved to a house in Yorktown Heights, a suburb in Westchester County.
Ocasio-Cortez attended Yorktown High School, graduating in 2007. She came in second in the Microbiology category of the Intel International Science and Engineering Fair with a microbiology research project on the effect of antioxidants on the lifespan of the nematode C. elegans. In a show of appreciation for her efforts, the MIT Lincoln Laboratory named a small asteroid after her: 23238 Ocasio-Cortez. In high school, she took part in the National Hispanic Institute's Lorenzo de Zavala (LDZ) Youth Legislative Session. She later became the LDZ Secretary of State while she attended Boston University. Ocasio-Cortez had a John F. Lopez Fellowship. In 2008, while Ocasio-Cortez was a sophomore at Boston University, her father died of lung cancer. During college, she served as an intern in the immigration office during the final year of U.S. Senator Ted Kennedy's tenure. "I was the only Spanish speaker, and as a result, as basically a kid—a 19-, 20-year-old kid—whenever a frantic call would come into the office because someone is looking for their husband because they have been snatched off the street by ICE, I was the one that had to pick up that phone," Ocasio-Cortez said. "I was the one that had to help that person navigate that system."
She graduated cum laude from Boston University's College of Arts and Sciences in 2011, majoring in international relations and economics…
After college, Ocasio-Cortez moved back to the Bronx and found work as an educational director. Following the death of her father, she took on an additional job working as a bartender and waitress to help her mother—a house cleaner and school-bus driver—fight foreclosure of their home. Ocasio-Cortez later launched Brook Avenue Press, a publishing firm for books that portray the Bronx in a positive light. She worked as lead educational strategist at GAGEis, Inc. Ocasio-Cortez also worked for the nonprofit National Hispanic Institute, serving as the Educational Director of the 2017 Northeast Collegiate World Series, a five-day long program targeted at college-bound high school students from across the United States and other countries, where she also participated in the panel on the future of Latino leadership.
In the 2016 primary, Ocasio-Cortez worked as an organizer for Bernie Sanders's 2016 presidential campaign. After the general election, she traveled across America by car, visiting places such as Flint, Michigan, and Standing Rock Indian Reservation in North Dakota, and speaking to people affected by the Flint water crisis and the Dakota Access Pipeline. In an interview she recalled her December 2016 visit to Standing Rock as a tipping point, saying that before that, she had believed that the only way to effectively run for office was if you had access to wealth, social influence, and power. But her visit to North Dakota, where she saw others "putting their whole lives and everything that they had on the line for the protection of their community", inspired her to begin to work for her own community. One day after she visited North Dakota, she got a phone call from Brand New Congress, which was recruiting progressive candidates (her brother had nominated her soon after Election Day 2016)…
On the first day of congressional orientation, Ocasio-Cortez participated in a climate change protest outside the office of House Minority Leader Nancy Pelosi. Ocasio-Cortez backed Pelosi's bid to be Speaker of the House once the Democratic Party reclaimed the majority on the condition that Pelosi "remains the most progressive candidate for speaker".
When Ocasio-Cortez made her first speech on the floor of Congress, C-SPAN tweeted out the video. Within 12 hours, the video of her four-minute speech set the record as C-SPAN's most-watched Twitter video by a member of the House of Representatives.
Speaking at a Congressional hearing with a panel of representatives from campaign finance watchdog groups, Ocasio-Cortez questioned the panel about ethics regulations as they apply to both the president and members of Congress. She asserted that no regulations prevent lawmakers "from being bought off by wealthy corporations". With more than 37.5 million views, the clip became the most-watched political video ever posted on Twitter.
When President Trump's former lawyer Michael Cohen appeared before the Oversight Committee, Ocasio-Cortez asked him whether Trump had ever inflated property values for bank or insurance purposes and inquired where to get more information on the subject. Cohen's reply implied that Trump may have committed potential tax and bank fraud in his personal and business tax returns, financial statements and real-estate filings. David Brooks, a commentator for The New York Times, praised her for "laying down specific questions for specific predicates".
On February 7, 2019, Ocasio-Cortez submitted her first piece of legislation, the Green New Deal, to the Senate. She and Senator Ed Markey released a joint non-binding resolution laying out the main elements of a 10-year "economic mobilization" that would phase out fossil fuel use and overhaul the nation's infrastructure. Their plan called for implementing the "social cost of carbon" that was part of the Obama administration's plans to address climate change and transitioning the United States to 100% renewable, zero-emission energy sources. In the process it aimed to create jobs and boost the economy. The plan gained support from some Democratic senators, including Elizabeth Warren, Bernie Sanders and Cory Booker; other Democrats, such as Dianne Feinstein, House Speaker Nancy Pelosi, and Frank Pallone expressed opposition. Activist groups such as Greenpeace and the Sunrise Movement also came out in favor of the plan. No Republican lawmakers voiced support. On March 26, in what Democrats called a "stunt", Republicans called for an early vote without allowing discussion or expert testimony. Markey said Republicans were trying to "make a mockery" of the Green New Deal debate and called the vote a "sham". In protest, Senate Democrats voted "present" or against the bill, resulting in a 57–0 defeat on the Senate floor." (1)