Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez. Never has a name so new to the American political scene had such an immediate, outsized effect on the conversation. The new Congresswoman for New York’s 14th district unseated Joseph Crowley, a 10-term incumbent Democrat and one of the most powerful representatives in the House, in June of 2018, after running a grassroots campaign on a Democratic Socialist platform that many wrote off as wishful (even radical) thinking.
Having only been sworn-in on Thursday, January 3, she’s already been interviewed by Anderson Cooper on 60 Minutes and spawned more think pieces than any human could keep track of. From the time she won her primary, she has been the target of froth-mouthed rants from Fox News pundits such as Tucker Carlson (who was very upset when he realized he actually agreed with her on something) and Sean Hannity, and innumerable furious tweets about her and her beliefs. (So. Many. Tweets.) She was even booed by the GOP when she voted to make Nancy Pelosi the next Speaker of the House.
But it isn’t all conservative rage. The young politician — who was famously a bartender just a year ago — has an outsized social media following, gaining adoring fans on both Twitter and Instagram for her Instagram Live policy talks, clever tweets, and all-around realness. She’s a Millenial and a digital native who gets how to communicate on the internet. In her new job, this is rare.
With all the attention she’s drawn from both sides of the aisle, there’s a lot of noise about the youngest woman ever elected to Congress—noise which sometimes drowns out who she actually is and what she believes. And with the daily think pieces and breaking news on everything from where she may or may not have grown up to what she’s wearing, it’s hard to cut through the BS.
If that’s your aim, we’re here with everything you need to know about Congresswoman Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez.
She’s Still / She’s Still Alex From The Bronx
Before Ocasio-Cortez was walking around her neighborhood with Anderson Cooper in tow, she was a college graduate working as a bartender and a community organizer in New York. But let’s back up.
Born in the Bronx to Puerto Rican parents (her dad was born and raised in the Bronx, her mom in Puerto Rico), she claims the working class borough as home, despite the fact that her parents made the move to Yorktown in Westchester County when she was just starting school. Conservatives often use the fact that she moved to the small suburb—which has a median household income of $133,819, according to the U.S. Census Bureau—to challenge her “Alex from the Bronx” working class origin story. But she has, several times, clarified her upbringing (most recently in her 60 Minutes interview), stating that her parents made the move north in order to give her better educational opportunities while she spent ample time with family in the city. Further, she says, going to school in Yorktown highlighted what doors a higher income can open for one’s educational opportunities and the self-perpetuating cycle of income inequality.