- Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez, 29, won a shocking victory against longtime Rep. Joe Crowley in the New York Democratic Party congressional primary earlier this year.
- She officially became the youngest woman elected to Congress in US history in November.
- Ocasio-Cortez was sworn into Congress on Thursday.
- Roughly a year ago she was still working as a bartender.
- Speaking on her victory on MSNBC’s “Morning Joe” in June, Ocasio-Cortez said it was speaking with constituents about issues, instead of focusing on President Donald Trump, that helped her win.
Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez, 29, won a shocking victory against Rep. Joe Crowley in the New York Democratic congressional primary in June.
In November, she officially became the youngest woman elected to Congress in US history with an easy victory in her historically Democratic district in the 2018 midterm elections.
WATCH: Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez is sworn in by Nancy Pelosi pic.twitter.com/PV27zwZtB5
— Bloomberg Quicktake (@Quicktake) January 4, 2019
With a progressive platform and message aimed at the working class, Ocasio-Cortez defeated Crowley, who represented New York’s 14th district since 1999, in a landslide. She won 57.5% of the vote, while Crowley had just 42.5%.
Ocasio-Cortez is a Bronx native, member of the Democratic Socialists of America, and former campaign organiser for Sen. Bernie Sanders.
This was her first time running for office. Rougly a year ago she was still working as a bartender.
Speaking on her victory on MSNBC’s “Morning Joe” in June, Ocasio-Cortez said it was speaking with constituents about issues, instead of focusing on President Donald Trump, that helped her win.
“We have to stick to the message: What are we proposing to the American people? Not, ‘What are we fighting against?'”Ocasio-Cortez said. “We understand that we’re under an antagonistic administration, but what is the vision that is going to earn and deserve the support of working-class Americans? And we need to be explicit in that vision and legislation, not just ‘better,’ but what exactly is our plan?”
Here’s the platform that helped launch Ocasio-Cortez to the biggest political upset of 2018 so far via an unconventional campaign she started out of a Trader Joe’s bag.
Medicare for all
Ocasio-Cortez wants a single payer health care system that would cover medicine, vision, dental, and mental health care.
“Almost every other developed nation in the world has universal healthcare,” Ocasio-Cortez’s website says. “It’s time the United States catch up to the rest of the world in ensuring all people have real healthcare coverage that doesn’t break the bank.”
Fully funded public schools and universities
Ocasio-Cortez, who is still paying off student loans, wants to establish tuition-free public college and trade school.
She also wants to cancel all student debt.
For the cost of the GOP’s tax bill, we could forgive ALL the student loan debt in the United States.
— Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez (@AOC) May 15, 2018
Universal jobs guarantee
Ocasio-Cortez believes there should be a Federal Jobs Guarantee, creating a “baseline quality for employments that guarantees a minimum $US15 wage (pegged to inflation), full healthcare, and paid child and sick leave for all,” according to her website.
Housing as a human right
Ocasio-Cortez believes housing is a right and “that Congress must tip the balance away from housing as a gambling chip for Wall Street banks and fight for accessible housing that’s actually within working families’ reach,” her website says.
She says she wants to extend tax benefits to working- and middle-class homeowners, expand the Low Income Housing Tax Credit, provide housing for the homeless, and permanently fund the National Affordable Housing Trust Fund.
Ocasio-Cortez calls for ending the war on drugs, demilitarizing police departments, and abolishing for-profit prisons.
She also supports legalizing marijuana at the federal level, releasing individuals sentenced for nonviolent drug offenses, ending cash bail, and “automatic, independent” investigations when people are killed by law enforcement officials.
“Mass incarceration is the latest iteration of a long line of policies (Jim Crow, redlining, etc) rooted in the marginalization of African Americans and people of colour,” her website says. “Comprehensive criminal justice reform is part of the work that must be done to heal our past and pursue racial justice in the United States.”
Ocasio-Cortez wants to abolish Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE) and believes there should be a “clear” path to citizenship for unauthorised immigrants.
“As overseen by the Trump administration, ICE operates with virtually no accountability, ripping apart families and holding our friends and neighbours indefinitely in inhumane detention centres scattered across the United States,” Ocasio-Cortez said on her website.
She also wants more protections for young unauthorised immigrants known as “Dreamers” and immigrants who have temporary protections from deportation.
“New Green Deal” to combat climate change
Ocasio-Cortez wants the US to implement a carbon-free, 100% renewable energy system and a fully modernised electrical grid in the US by 2035 in an effort to combat climate change.
She says climate change is the “single biggest national security threat for the United States and the single biggest threat to worldwide industrialized civilisation,” according to her website.
She’s pushing for a “New Green Deal,” a federal plan to thwart climate change via investing trillions in infrastructure.
“The Green New Deal we are proposing will be similar in scale to the mobilization efforts seen in World War II or the Marshall Plan,” she recently told HuffPost. “We must again invest in the development, manufacturing, deployment, and distribution of energy, but this time green energy.”
Ocasio-Cortez ran a low-budget campaign, raising around $US200,000 and refusing to accept donations from lobbyists.
She says changing the way elections are funded is the “only way for real reform to happen in Washington,” according to her website.
To bring about campaign finance reform, Ocasio-Cortez calls for overturning the Supreme Court ruling on Citizens United via a constitutional amendment. She also wants to push for legislation that would require wealthy people and corporations who make large campaign contributions to disclose where their money is going.