Politics

Five Things to Know About Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez

Democratic socialist wants single-payer health care and guaranteed jobs for all

Progressive challenger Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez celebrates at a victory party in the Bronx after upsetting incumbent Democratic Representative Joseph Crowley on Tuesday in New York City. (Scott Heins/Getty Images)

Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez unseated 10-term Democratic Rep. Joseph Crowley in Tuesday night’s primary and is expected to win the seat for New York’s 14th District.

“You can only dismantle a machine with a movement and a movement cannot be done with one person,” the Latina candidate from the Bronx said in an interview last week.

Here are five things to know about her:

Youngest woman

If Ocasio-Cortez, 28, wins in November, she will become the youngest woman elected to Congress. The current member holding that record is Rep. Elise Stefanik, who was 30 when she was elected to represent New York’s 21st district.

Pushing left

Single-payer health care and guaranteed jobs for all are some of her campaign promises. Ocasio-Cortez was also one of the first candidates to call for the abolishment of U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement. “I think we need to evolve — we have to force the evolution of the Democratic Party,” she said.

Roots

Ocasio-Cortez considers herself a “grass-roots organizer” and turned in nearly four times the number of required petition signatures to get on the primary ballot. The 14th district is 49 percent Hispanic. She has been working with the nonpartisan and nonprofit Voto Latino, and on Sunday went to the southern border to protest President Donald Trump’s zero-tolerance immigration policy. The daughter of two working-class parents also got the backing of liberal groups such as MoveOn.org and Democracy for America.

Berning

A member of the Democratic Socialists of America, she worked as an organizer for Sen. Bernie Sanders in the 2016 election. Sanders lost to Hillary Clinton in the 14th District, but Ocasio-Cortez does not see the presidential primary results as an obstacle. She said she had support from Clinton supporters in the district. “I think people overestimate the post-2016 litigation in these communities, because it really hasn’t been a problem.”

Loss leader

Ocasio-Cortez is the first primary challenger to unseat a sitting Democrat this election cycle. Crowley had not faced an opponent in 14 years and had been mentioned as a possible candidate for speaker. She said Crowley’s power in Congress would come up every once in a while on the campaign trail, and she would respond, “What is this power doing for us? It’s not doing anything.”Bridget Bowman contributed to this report. 

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