Stacy Brown

Women of Color in the 116th Congress: Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez

Without question, Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez counts as the most outspoken of all the new members of Congress.

With more than 3.35 million followers on Twitter and her recent methodical grilling of former Donald Trump attorney Michael Cohen, Ocasio-Cortez may also rank as the most prolific and the most sought-after interview among all representatives.

The fervor in which she speaks and the passion of her followers — who have become more like rock star fans than supporters of a candidate or politician — suggest that, although new in Congress, the woman known simply as AOC is not only a star in the House of Representatives, but she could soon find herself in conversations about a run for the presidency.

Born to Puerto Rican parents and raised in the Bronx, N.Y., Ocasio-Cortez studied at Boston University and worked in the office of the late Sen. Ted Kennedy of Massachusetts.

Later, she worked as a community organizer in the Bronx and then worked at restaurants to help support her family after her father’s death.

When Trump recently tried to beat back criticism when he suggested his eldest daughter learned about working for tips and hourly wages second-hand, Ocasio-Cortez pounced.

“As a person who actually worked for tips and hourly wages in my life, instead of having to learn about it secondhand, I can tell you that most people want to be paid enough to live,” she said, clapping back at the president.

“A living wage isn’t a gift, it’s a right. Workers are often paid far less than the value they create,” Ocasio-Cortez said.

But, that’s just one example of the refreshingly bold and outspokenness she brings to a usually stoic and dry Capitol.

In a short, get-to-know-you, email question-and-answer session with The Washington Informer, Ocasio-Cortez provided a little more insight:

WI: What strategy did you employ during your campaign that you believe was effective in your victory?

AOC: We helped build a grassroots coalition and promoted our message through an extensive digital campaign.

WI: What are the major issues on which you ran and how have you begun to address them?

AOC: My candidacy strove to address issues at the intersection of economic and political justice — living wages and a jobs guarantee, the Green New Deal, criminal justice reform and the abolition of ICE.

Since being sworn in to office, I have tried to use my platform to continue elevating the issues we focused on during the campaign.

Along with Senator Ed Markey (D-Mass.), I am proud to have introduced a Green New Deal resolution that has helped to focus attention on climate and inequality.

WI: What has it been like to be a freshman member of Congress and a woman of color?

AOC: As a freshman member of Congress and a woman of color, I have to navigate power differently and create new precedents for others to benefit.

WI: Share something about you that many people probably do not know — something light and perhaps humorous.

AOC: I am a Star Trek fan!

WI: Who would be an ideal president?

AOC: An ideal president is courageous enough to chart out a bold new vision free of the corrupting influence of dark money and operates with a compassionate and strategic for the country.

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Stacy Brown

I’ve worked for the Daily News of Los Angeles, the L.A. Times, Gannet and the Times-Tribune and have contributed to the Pocono Record, the New York Post and the New York Times. Television news opportunities have included: NBC, MSNBC, Scarborough Country, the Abrams Report, Today, Good Morning America, NBC Nightly News, Imus in the Morning and Anderson Cooper 360. Radio programs like the Wendy Williams Experience, Tom Joyner Morning Show and the Howard Stern Show have also provided me the chance to share my views.

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