A Year Ago, She Worked At Bar. Yesterday, She Ousted A 10-Term New York Democrat.

"This is the start of a movement."

Despite the odds,  28-year-old Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez defeated 10-term incumbent Rep. Joe Crowley in New York's 14th congressional district primaries on Tuesday, June 26.  

Her victory is monumental for several reasons. The Bronx native is the first person to challenge Crowley in a primary election in over a decade. "I understand he hasn't been challenged for 14 years," Ocasio-Cortez said in an interview with CNN. "But that doesn't mean that an election isn't happening. In fact, what's happening right now is historic and it's an opportunity to show up for the community." 


Ocasio-Cortez, who won 57.5 percent of the vote, is a member of the Democratic Socialists of America party.  Key issues for her are universal health care, the dismantling of Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE), tuition-free college for all, and a ban on federal prisons. 

 "To me, what socialism means is to guarantee a basic level of dignity. It's asserting the value of saying that the America we want and the America that we are proud of is one in which all children can access a dignified education, she said in an interview with Vogue. "It's one in which no person is too poor to have the medicines they need to live. It's to say that no individual's civil rights are to be violated. And it's also to say that we need to really examine the historical inequities that have created much of the inequalities—both in terms of economics and social and racial justice—because they are intertwined." 

Crowley's campaign raised twice as many funds as Ocasio-Cortez, reported CNN. But still, as evidenced by her win, she ran an effective grassroots campaign that engaged the districts' voters.

On June 24, the millennial went to the Southwest U.S. border to visit immigrant detention centers. "We have families and communities here (in the 14th District) from Ecuador and Colombia, Bangladesh, Korea, Pakistan, and I see them every day, many of them are very scared about what's going on," she told CNN. "With my campaign, in terms of immigration, we're trying to say, 'Hey, we've got your back.'"

After she was elected, Washington Post reporter Jeff Stein tweeted a throwback photo from November, 2017 of Ocasio-Cortez hard at work at a bar. During the campaign, Ocasio-Cortez often noted her working class roots, and her desire to represent the working class in a legislature where the majority of the members are millionaires.

Ocasio-Cortez will face Republican candidate Anthony Pappas in the November midterm election. If she wins, she will become the youngest woman ever elected to Congress.


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