The 28-year-old Bronx native is fresh to the political scene. She doesn’t come from money or influence. She barely received any media coverage throughout her campaign.
Here are some of the ways in which Ocasio-Cortez is so remarkable:
If She Wins, She Will Be The Youngest Woman Elected To Congress
“Congress is too old, they don’t have a stake in the game,” she told Elite Daily. If the 28-year-old is elected to the House of Representatives, as is widely expected, she will be 29 when the new Congress starts.
While she worked for the late Sen. Ted Kennedy (D-Mass.) and on Sen. Bernie Sanders’ (I-Vt.) presidential campaign, she didn’t have any political ambitions of her own until a few years ago. But she was motivated by a need to more accurately represent the district she comes from.
“Our district is overwhelmingly people of color, it’s working class, it’s very immigrant ― and it hasn’t had the representation we’ve needed,” she told HuffPost earlier this month.
She Bartended To Make Ends Meet Until Recently
Ocasio-Cortez worked as a waitress and bartender in Manhattan up until recently to help keep her family financially afloat after her father died and her mom had to go back to work cleaning houses and driving a bus.
Her mother had to leave the Bronx and move to Florida because she could no longer afford life there, she told Vogue.
She’s Still Paying Off Student Loans
She Refused To Accept Corporate Money
Out of the more than $300,000 Ocasio-Cortez raised throughout her campaign (compared to Crowley’s $3 million), only about $5,000 came from PACs and about two-thirds were made up of small, under-$200 contributions, according to OpenSecrets.
“By not taking money from lobbyists, by taking money from working-class people, we can legislate for working-class people,” she told CBS News.
She was up against massive corporations who donated to Crowley, including Facebook and Google.
She’s A Dues-Paying Member Of The Democratic Socialists of America
And Ocasio-Cortez is trying to undo the stigma surrounding the term “socialist.”
“It’s really scary or it’s easy to generate fear around an idea or around an -ism when you don’t provide any substance to it,” she told New York Magazine’s “The Cut” this week. “I believe that every American should have stable, dignified housing; health care; education — that the most very basic needs to sustain modern life should be guaranteed in a moral society. You can call that whatever you want to call that.”