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Who Is Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez?

5 Things to Know About Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez, the Millennial Latina Jolting New York Politics

NEW YORK, NY - JUNE 26: Progressive challenger Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez embraces New York gubenatorial candidate Cynthia Nixon at her victory party in the Bronx after upsetting incumbent Democratic Representative Joseph Crowly on June 26, 2018 in New York City. Ocasio-Cortez upset Rep. Joseph Crowley in New York's 14th Congressional District, which includes parts of the Bronx and Queens. (Photo by Scott Heins/Getty Images)

In what is being viewed as one of the most shocking political upsets in recent memory, Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez defeated Representative Joseph Crowley in the Democratic primary for New York's 14th Congressional District. This was the 28-year-old candidate's first-ever campaign, and her opponent was a 56-year-old 10-term incumbent. Ocasio-Cortez will now go on to run against Republican candidate Anthony Pappas in the November midterm elections.

Following the election's unexpected outcome, President Donald Trump tweeted his excitement over Crowley's loss. "Big Trump Hater Congressman Joe Crowley, who many expected was going to take Nancy Pelosi's place, just LOST his primary election," he said. Trump did not acknowledge — or was perhaps not aware of — Ocasio-Cortez's progressive left-wing platform. Throughout the election, Ocasio-Cortez criticised media outlets for similarly focusing on her opponent, in addition to not using her name in headlines. Below are some fast facts about the game-changing newcomer whose name everyone will soon know.

  1. Ocasio-Cortez was born and raised in the Bronx by Puerto Rican-American working-class parents. She cites her family's search for decent public schools — and her eventual attendance at a school 40 minutes away from her home — as being crucial to shaping her understanding of the education system and inequality at a young age.
  2. The House hopeful studied economics and international relations at Boston University, and worked for Senator Ted Kennedy. She specialised in foreign affairs and immigration in his office from 2008 until his death in 2009.
  3. Ocasio-Cortez moved back to New York and worked at a Mexican restaurant, Flats Fix, to help her family financially following the death of her father in 2008. In fact, the restaurant still has a photo of the candidate on its website. Though she continued to work at Flats Fix just before launching her campaign, Ocasio-Cortez also worked as an educator for the National Hispanic Institute.
  4. She is a member of Democratic Socialists of America and her platform includes the Bernie Sanders-sponsored Medicare For All bill, a federal jobs guarantee, criminal justice reform, gun control, and the abolition of ICE.
  5. If elected, Ocasio-Cortez will be the youngest woman ever elected to the House of Representatives. Elise Stefanik currently holds that title after she was elected to New York's 21st congressional district in 2015 when she was 30.
Image Source: Getty / Scott Heins
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