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Who is Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez?
Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez, referred to often by her initials AOC, is an American politician and activist, currently serving as the U.S. Representative for New York's 14th congressional district. At only 29, Ocasio-Cortez won against Rep. Joe Crowley, a victory that shook the American political landscape. Crowley was considered as the fourth most powerful Democrat in the House, a long established incumbent. She won 57.5% of the vote, while Crowley had just 42.5%. In November 2018, she officially became the youngest woman of color ever to be elected to congress in US history. On January 3rd, 2019, she was sworn in as a Member of the United States House of Representatives by the House Speaker. Ocasio-Cortez has been generating headlines almost daily every since she took her seat in Congress, taking on the role of the antagonist to conservative Fox News and Republicans, and the hero of the Democrats of the left wing.
She has battled Nancy Pelosi for the Green New Deal, and is continuously working for the realization of free college education for all Americans. Her messages are mostly aimed at the working class, as she embraces the label of democratic socialism. She continues to fight for the abolition of Immigration and Customs Enforcement.
This was her first time running for office, as roughly a year before she had worked as a bartender and waitress. Despite going to Boston University and earning a degree in economics and international relations, she had to work 18-hour shifts to help her mother who worked as a house cleaner and school-bus driver. Hailing from Puerto Rico, Ocasio-Cortez’s family escaped to Florida following the death of her father.
The key to her victory? She believes it was her conscious decision to focus on the people, rather expend most of her energy on opposing Trump. She shared the sentiment of sticking to the message. “What are we proposing to the American people?” she said, “Not ‘What are we fighting against?”
What is she fighting for?
Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez is a force to be reckoned with, and it is why the conservatives attack her every chance they get. Still, though, the fact remains – the people chose her, and people are rallying behind her. What does she fight for?
Green New Deal
The Green New Deal was made to fight for climate change , and Ocasio-Cortez wants the US to implement an energy system that is 100% renewable and carbon free, along with a fully modernized electrical grid by 2035. According to her website, she believes that climate change is the biggest national security threat to the United States, which extends worldwide. The Green New Deal wishes to invest in development and manufacturing, but this time using green energy. Last February 7, 2019, she submitted this as her first piece of legislation to the Senate. Teaming up with Senator Ed Markey, this joint non-binding resolution contains a layout of the main elements of the 10- year “economic mobilization”, effectively phasing out fossil fuels.
A healthcare system for all
Ocasio-Cortez emphasizes the need for a single-payer healthcare system, which will also cover vision, dental, vision, and even mental health care. She postulates that healthcare should be recognized as a basic human right, in opposition to its current state of being expensive and inaccessible to the average American. This system should cover every American, and a single government health care insurer should greatly reduce overall costs.
Public schools and universities full funding
Ocasio-Cortez wishes to form tuition-free public colleges, in the hopes of students never having to go through student debts. Education is a right, not a privilege. She also expresses a desire to cancel all student loan debt amounting to $1.6 trillion, as she revealed that she is still paying off these debts herself.
Ocasio-Cortez supports the abolition of the U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE) agency. She has called it an agency that promotes a paramilitary tone, and believes that fully disbanding the agency would create a pathway citizenship for more immigrants. She later clarifies, though, that this stance does not mean ceasing all deportations. Following the latest issue on detention centers for undocumented immigrants, Ocasio-Cortez’s recent visits compelled her to compare these horrific facilities to that of “concentration camps”. While heavily criticized by many for her use of the term, she bit back by challenging them to fight against the camps instead, and not the nomenclature. Her visits lead her to discover that some of the people there had no access to showers, and were told to drink water from the toilet. A woman expressed distress over her daughters being taken weeks prior, and she has not seen them since.
Ocasio-Cortez also fully supports LGBTQ+ rights and LGBTQ+ equality. She gave a detailed speech last January 2019 during the Women’s March in Manhattan, where she expressed support of measures necessary to ensure LGBTQ equality not only in the workplace, but everywhere. She also emphasized transgender rights, believing that it’s a “no brainer” as “trans rights are civil rights are human rights."
Housing regarded as a human right
Ocasio-Cortez strongly believes that housing is a right, and the Congress must take action to take away housing from Wall Street banks, and instead, provide housing that is accessible to the working class.
Beyond all these, Ocasio-Cortez also supports other progressive policies such as a federal job guarantee, enacting gun-control policies, and ending the privatization of prisons. She continues to be the subject of ridicule and insults from Republicans, even becoming subject of racist tweets from Trump himself. One thing is clear – they see her as a threat to the currently twisted government and corrupt system, as she is dedicated to fighting for everyone in America. She remains to be one of America’s beacons of hope, and people are fervently hoping that nothing corrupts her progressive stance - if you ask us, she is definitely worth writing a descriptive essay about.
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