ALEXANDRIA OCASIO-CORTEZ

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Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez was born on October 13th, 1989 in the Bronx, New York City. In high school, her research project on microbiology won second prize in the Intel International Science and Engineering Fair, resulting in a small asteroid being named after her. She was a member of the National Hispanic Institute’s Lorenzo de Zalvala Youth Legislative Session, becoming LZL Secretary of State during her time at Boston University, which she attended on a John D. Lopez Fellowship. She graduated cum laude with a degree in economics and international relations in 2011. 

Ocasio-Cortez’s father, Sergio, died of lung cancer in 2008, and as a result she became involved in a long legal battle to settle his estate. She and her mother struggled to keep their home out of foreclosure. She points to this experience, as well as the treatment of her cousin by law enforcement, as a window into the corrupt legal system in America, saying she learned “firsthand how attorneys appointed by the court to administer an estate can enrich themselves at the expense of the families struggling to make sense of the bureaucracy.” She hopes to one day overhaul America’s criminal justice system and address the epidemic of mass incarceration.

Ocasio-Cortez has always been an advocate for her community. She established a publishing company called Bronx Avenue Press, which produces books for children that portray the Bronx in a positive way. She worked as an educator for the National Hispanic Institute an as the Educational Director of the Northeast Collegiate World Series, where she was part of a panel on Latino Leadership. However, she felt that the only way to effectively run for office was to have access to wealth, power and social influence. 

When Ocasio-Cortez discovered she had been purged from New York’s voting registry and could not cast her vote in the 2016 primary elections, she began working for Bernie Sander’s presidential campaign. After the general election, she drove across the country, visiting Flint, Michigan and Standing Rock to speak with people affected by human rights violations. During her visit to Standing Rock, she encountered people "putting their whole lives and everything that they had on the line for the protection of their community,” and was inspired to run for office herself. 

On June 26th, 2018, Ocasio-Cortex - having never held elected office - won the Democratic primary election in New York’s 14th congressional district against incumbent Democratic Caucus Chair Joe Crowley, who had not been challenged since 2004. She is a member of the Democratic Socialists of America and will face Republican nominee Anthony Pappas in the general election on November 6th. Pappas is considered a long-shot and Joe Crowly, though still on the ballot, has given up campaigning and endorsed Ocasio-Cortez. She supports a path to citizenship for immigrants who entered the U.S. legally or illegally, abolishing ICE and immigration detention centers, the impeachment of President Trump, a single-payer healthcare system, a transition to 100% renewable energy, tuition free universities and enacting gun-control policies. She calls for solidarity for Puerto Rico and spoke at a Black Lives Matter rally in 2017. 

Many news outlets received criticism for not covering Ocasio-Cortez’s campaign, but after her primary win she gained national attention. She appeared on the Late Show, The View, and the Daily show, and conservative Allie Stuckey even aired a fake interview with her. She has been harolded for running a campaign at a significant financial disadvantage, spending $194,000 (75% of which were small individual contributions) up against Crowley’s campaign budget of $3.4 million.


She was named the 2017 person of the year by the National Hispanic Institute and has been endorsed by major organizations such as MoveOn, Justice Democrats, Brand New Congress, Black Lives Matter, Democracy for America and gubernatorial candidate Cynthia Nixon. 

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