Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez, who was born to a Puerto Rican mother and a South Bronx father and raised in Yorktown, stunned Democratic Party big wigs nationally by defeating Rep. Joe Crowley in in the 14th congressional district, which comprises parts of the Bronx and Queens, including Jackson Heights and Flushing.
The first-time Latina candidate won 57.3 percent of the votes in a district that has become predominantly immigrant to 42.7 percent for the incumbent congressman, who was considered to be on the shortlist to become the next House Speaker if Democrats took the majority in November.
Ocasio-Cortez was significantly out-raised by Crowley who had a war chest of some US 3 million reportedly to her US $200,000. Most of her support came from the left and traction on social media with young voters and supporters as well as from Democratic candidate for governor Cynthia Nixon.
She ran as a Democratic socialist on a platform that included creating a single-payer healthcare system, also known as Medicare for All; reforming the criminal justice system; abolishing the U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE) agency; establishing a federal jobs guarantee, which would establish a minimum wage of $15, full healthcare, and paid family leave; protecting reproductive freedom; and establishing a Marshall Plan for Puerto Rico, which would allow the U.S. territory to continue recovering from Hurricane Maria.
Ocasio-Cortez is a graduate of Boston University, where she studied economics and international relations. As a student, she interned and worked at the foreign affairs and immigration constituent office of the late Sen. Ted Kennedy, according to Refinery.com.
Her father was a small-business owner who died of cancer following the 2008 financial crisis. Her mother worked cleaning houses and driving a bus.
Ocasio-Cortez became an educator with the non-profit National Hispanic Institute after college and also waited tables and bartended at one time to make ends meet.
She is a former volunteer for the 2016 presidential campaign of Sen. Bernie Sanders. In a predominantly Democratic district her win in the general election in November is largely assured.
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