Alexandria Oca­sio-Cortez

DREAM TEEN Magazine - - Contents -

Re­gard­less of cir­cum­stance and fi­nan­cial hard­ship, Alexandria Oca­sio-Cortez proves you can rise to the top. On June 26, 2018, Oca­sio-Cortez won the Demo­cratic pri­mary in New York’s 14th con­gres­sional dis­trict, de­feat­ing the in­cum­bent, Demo­cratic Cau­cus Chair Joseph Crow­ley, in what has been de­scribed as the big­gest up­set vic­tory in the 2018 midterm-elec­tion sea­son. Oca­sio-Cortez is a mem­ber of the Demo­cratic So­cial­ists of Amer­ica and has been en­dorsed by var­i­ous po­lit­i­cally pro­gres­sive or­ga­ni­za­tions and in­di­vid­u­als.

Her story be­gins Oc­to­ber 13, 1989, where she was born in the Bronx, New York City. Un­til age five, she lived with her fam­ily in an apart­ment in Parkch­ester. The fam­ily then moved to a house in York­town Heights, a sub­urb in Westch­ester County. Grow­ing up, Oca­sio-Cortez reg­u­larly trav­eled to the Bronx to visit ex­tended fam­ily.

From 2003 to 2007, Oca­sio-Cortez at­tended York­town High School, where she won sec­ond prize in the In­tel In­ter­na­tional Sci­ence and En­gi­neer­ing Fair with a re­search project on mi­cro­bi­ol­ogy. As a re­sult, the In­ter­na­tional As­tro­nom­i­cal Union named a small as­ter­oid after her: 23238 Oca­sio-Cortez. In high school, she took part in the Na­tional His­panic In­sti­tute’s Lorenzo de Zal­vala (LDZ) Youth Leg­isla­tive Ses­sion. She later be­came the LDZ Sec­re­tary of State while she at­tended Bos­ton Univer­sity. Dur­ing col­lege, she was an in­tern in the im­mi­gra­tion of­fice of U.S. Sen­a­tor Ted Kennedy. She grad­u­ated fourth in her class from Bos­ton Univer­sity’s Col­lege of Arts and Sciences in 2011, with a bach­e­lor’s de­gree in eco­nom­ics and in­ter­na­tional re­la­tions.

Oca­sio-Cortez has de­scribed her back­ground as work­ing-class, and re­lates many of her po­lit­i­cal po­si­tions to it. When her fa­ther died in­tes­tate of lung cancer in 2008, she be­came in­volved in a long pro­bate bat­tle to set­tle his es­tate. She has said that the ex­pe­ri­ence helped her learn “first­hand how at­tor­neys ap­pointed by the court to ad­min­is­ter an es­tate can en­rich them­selves at the ex­pense of the fam­i­lies strug­gling, to make sense of the bu­reau­cracy.” She cred­its see­ing the treat­ment of her cousin by law en­force­ment, as well as her Catholic faith, for her de­sire to over­haul mass in­car­cer­a­tion in the crim­i­nal-jus­tice sys­tem.

After col­lege, Oca­sio-Cortez moved back to the Bronx where she worked two jobs, as a bar­tender in Man­hat­tan and as a wait­ress in a ta­que­ria while her mother cleaned houses and drove school buses, as they strug­gled to fight fore­clo­sure of their home after her fa­ther died. With fi­nan­cial back­ing from Sun­shine Bronx Busi­ness Incubator, she es­tab­lished a pub­lish­ing firm, Brook Av­enue Press, that spe­cial­izes in chil­dren’s lit­er­a­ture, por­tray­ing the Bronx in a pos­i­tive light. There­after she did a great deal of com­mu­nity work.

At 28 years old, Oca­sio-Cortez is one of the youngest Con­gress­women, she is the youngest wo­man ever elected to the U.S. House of Rep­re­sen­ta­tives. She will be 29 at the start of the 116th Congress. Con­grat­u­la­tions Alexandria!

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