Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez was born in the Bronx on Oct. 13, 1989, and she is already on track to make history.
On Tuesday, Ocasio-Cortez won the Democratic primary for the 14th Congressional District of New York, unseating leading House Democrat Joe Crowley. Crowley, the fourth-ranking House Democrat, who many predicted would replace Nancy Pelosi as minority leader, has represented the Bronx and Queens district for 10 terms and has not faced a primary challenger since 2004.
Ocasio-Cortez, 28, is highly favored to win the deep-blue district in November. If she does, she will become the youngest woman ever elected to Congress.
The rising political star is a former organizer for Bernie Sanders’ presidential campaign and previously worked for the late Senator Ted Kennedy and as an Education Director in the Bronx. Her father was a small business owner from the South Bronx, and her mother is a housekeeper from Arecibo, Puerto Rico.
As a child, Ocasio-Cortez commuted 40 minutes each way to attend Yorktown High School, because of the low-quality of the schools in her Bronx zip code. She went on to study Economics and International Relations at Boston University.
She ran an entirely grassroots campaign, with a progressive platform that included the abolition of the Immigration and Customs Enforcement agency (ICE), tuition-free college, a federal jobs guarantee, universal Medicare, gun reform, an end to private prisons and access to affordable housing.
"We're having an affordability crisis in New York City," Ocasio-Cortez told NPR. "We have a security crisis with our current immigration system, and I think I was able to allow our community to really feel seen and heard, and visited and advocated for."
Should she win the general election in November she would also become the first representative to fully reflect the demographics of her district.
“Our district is 70 percent people of color, and we have never had a person of color represent us in American history,” she told NowThis. Furthermore, roughly 50 percent of the citizens in her district are immigrants.
When Ocasio-Cortez won on Tuesday, she was stunned. “I cannot put this into words,” she told NY1.
But the rising political star found them quickly.
“This is not an end, this is the beginning. This is the beginning because the message that we sent the world tonight is that it's not OK to put donors before your community,” she told her supporters on Tuesday. "You have given this country hope, you have given this country proof that when you knock on your neighbor's door, when you come to them with love, when you let them know that no matter your stance, you are there for them — that we can make change.”
Correction: An earlier version of this story misstated Ocasio-Cortez's year of birth. It was 1989.
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