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On Our Radar: Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez

Her impassioned environmental plea has been viewed millions of times online, but just how did a young woman from the Bronx – who was waiting tables a year ago – become the poster girl for political change in America?

By Natalie Cornish

The Latest

Her impassioned environmental plea has been viewed millions of times online, but just how did a young woman from the Bronx – who was waiting tables a year ago – become the poster girl for political change in America?

By Natalie Cornish

Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez (or AOC as she’s quickly become known) is the youngest female senator in US history. And she is angry.

After bringing her first piece of legislation, The Green New Deal – which calls for bipartisan action on climate change – to the Senate in February, her bill was voted down without so much as a debate on the chamber floor last month. The result? AOC’s impassioned takedown of her Republican critics which has been watched by millions of people online. “This is not an elitist issue, this is a quality of life issue,” she says, directly addressing the other side of the chamber in the unflinching, eloquent manner which has propelled her to become one of the most popular US politicians in just 12 short months.

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Since then, AOC continues to unsettle established politicians on both sides of the aisle with her thoroughly modern approach to governing – whether that’s asking a killer question during congressional hearings, or joining a protest outside speaker Nancy Pelosi’s office on Climate Change in her first week. Her progressive viewpoint isn’t without its critics however. Some say her unwavering commitment to socialism is worrying, while others question her controversial anti-Israel stance.

Even Obama, who previously endorsed her, has cautioned against viewing AOC and the faction of the Democratic party she represents as saviours without thinking “in the nitty-gritty about how these big, bold ideas will work and how you pay for them”. AOC, though, is unphased by the fanfare that currently surrounds her. Instead she is putting her advocacy into action, starting with that key passion: the environment.

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