Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez is running to represent New York’s 14th congressional district in the U.S. House of Representatives. Ocasio-Cortez, the winner of a hard-won Democratic primary where she faced off against 10-term incumbent representative Joe Crowley, will run against a Republican candidate in the November 6 general election. The Republican candidate is Anthony Pappas, an economics and finance professor at St. Johns University. Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez, a young, socialist, Latina activist is a progressive political newcomer and a true champion for immigrants and low-income communities of color. If elected, Ocasio-Cortez would become the youngest individual to ever serve in Congress and is slated to become the first Latina to represent her district.
Background and Achievements
Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez was born and in the Bronx, New York, to a father from the South Bronx and a mother, born and raised in Puerto Rico. Ocasio-Cortez grew up in a working class household where everyone would contribute to the family business and her mother cleaned houses and drove school buses in order to keep her family afloat. Ocasio-Cortez grew up with an intimate understanding of economic inequality, often saying that she was “born in a place where your ZIP code determines your destiny”.
Ocasio-Cortez has always worked to uplift vulnerable communities. During her time at Boston University, where she earned degrees in Economics and International Relations, she worked for the late Senator Ted Kennedy (D-MA). There, she handled foreign affairs and immigration casework for constituent families. After finishing her degree, she returned to the Bronx and worked in education and community organizing as an Education Director at the National Hispanic Institute. However, when the 2008 financial crisis set in Ocasio-Cortez’s father passed away, leaving her family without their primary source of income. Like many other families in New York and across the country, Ocasio-Cortez’s family struggled under those difficult economic circumstances and she was forced to take on extra jobs as a waitress and a bartender in order to help her family keep their home.
Throughout her career as an education and community organizer, Ocasio-Cortez has demonstrated a deep commitment to improving the lives of low-income individuals, communities of color and immigrants. Through her grassroots, community-funded campaign, she has also shown a strong desire to keep Wall Street banks and luxury developers accountable in a district where normal families struggle to afford the increasing standards of living.
Prospects & Opponents
Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez ran against 10-year incumbent Joe Crowley and won, in a stunning political victory where Ocasio-Cortez was outspent by a great margin of 10 to 1. Throughout her campaign she made sure to reach out to often ignored nonvoters in a district with a low voter turnout..
As the Democratic primary winner, she will face Republican nominee Anthony Pappas on November 6. Ocasio-Cortez’s victory on a strong, leftist grassroots campaign represents a potential shift in Democratic Party politics that could see more radical progressive candidates challenging the Democratic establishment.