Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez

U.S. House, New York 14

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Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez was born in the Bronx to two working-class parents, her father a small business owner from the South Bronx, and her mother from Puerto Rican who grew up around a large family near Arecibo and made a living cleaning homes. From a young age, Alexandria grew up with a deep understanding of income inequality.

Alexandria went on to study at Boston University, where she earned degrees in Economics and International Relations. While there, she worked for the late U.S. Senator Ted Kennedy handling foreign affairs and immigration casework for constituent families.

And as the markets crashed in 2008, Alexandria’s father passed away from cancer. He was only 48 years old. Her family was suddenly thrown into crisis—having lost its primary source of income in the middle of a recession. As the financial reality caught up to her family, Alexandria found herself working two jobs and 18-hour shifts in restaurants to help her family keep their home.

That experience put Alexandria on the other side of laws and policy, as she went from reviewing economic outcomes to having first-hand experiences with families struggling to maintain decent housing, healthcare, and immigration status. That dual experience has given her a much deeper understanding of how policies impact our families beyond the white papers.

Alexandria believes that the Bronx and Queens deserve a candidate that represents them and will champion working-class values. She is the first candidate to run in New York’s 14th Congressional District without any lobbyist money in modern history and the first woman of color to ever run in the district, one that is 70 percent people of color.

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