April 25, 2018 By Tara Law
A progressive Democrat is running a grassroots campaign to “end” Joseph Crowley’s 19-year tenure in congress.
Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez, a 28-year-old resident of Parkchester in the Bronx, is working full-time to replace Crowley as the Democrat representing the 14th congressional district, which covers north west Queens and a southern portion of the Bronx.
On June 26, Ocasio-Cortez will face Crowley as the Congressman’s first primary challenger in 14 years.
She faces long odds to win the race, given Crowley’s clout as Chair of the House Democratic Caucus and the head of the Queens County Democratic Party. Crowley sits on a war chest of about $1.6 million, compared to Ocasio-Cortez’s $49,000, according to campaign funds tracker Opensecrets.org.
Ocasio-Cortez said she is counting on voters’ disillusionment with machine politics—as well as changing demographics—in order to win.
“The Queens of today is not the Queens of 20 years ago,” said Ocasio-Cortez, adding that the same is true of the Bronx. “We deserve representation that understands that and knows who actually lives here. Residents can trust me and my campaign to deliver…we do not take corporate money.”
Ocasio-Cortez is a first-time candidate but an experienced organizer. She helped coordinate Senator Bernie Sanders’ presidential campaign in the South Bronx and was the former educational director for the National Hispanic Institute, a nonprofit that cultivates potential civic leaders from the Hispanic community.
In Sanders’ tradition, Ocasio-Cortez is an unabashed progressive who says she refuses to accept corporate donations, and endorses free public college and trade school, a higher minimum wage, universal Medicare, a 100 percent renewable energy economy and reducing the country’s prison population.
Two months ahead of the primary, her campaign has gained some traction. She received 5,480 signatures to get on the ballot, more than the 1,250-signature requirement, and has collected about 12,500 donations from 7,000 individual donors. The campaign received an average donation of $11.50 during the first three months of 2018.
“When you’re fighting against a candidate who is bankrolled by [corporations], you don’t beat them by out-fundraising them; you beat them by out-organizing them,” Ocasio-Cortez said.
She said that her campaign has been driven by energetic first-time political volunteers. For example, she relied on 140 volunteers to collect signatures to get on the ballot as opposed to hiring a petition drive management company.
Volunteers for her campaign are running phone banks, sharing fliers on social media and inviting her to their homes to speak with their neighbors, said Ocasio-Cortez.
“A lot of this campaign has been happening in people’s living rooms,” Ocasio-Cortez said.
Ocasio-Cortez believes that her working-class background will resonate with many voters.
She was born in the Bronx to a Puerto Rican mother–who was a housekeeper–and a father who was an architect. Ocasio-Cortez was raised upstate after her parents decided to move for quality schools.
She went to Boston University and worked for Senator Ted Kennedy handling constituent issues. She said her time at Kennedy’s office deepened her commitment to public service but helped her understand why people from less privileged backgrounds struggle to get into office.
“As much as I loved that experience, it really felt that electoral politics was really dominated— too much— by big money and dynastic power. And that I, as a girl from the Bronx, had none of those things,” Ocasio-Cortez said.
Ocasio-Cortez returned to the Bronx after college and worked for the National Hispanic Institute. A few years later, Ocasio-Cortez joined Senator Sander’s campaign for president.
Ocasio-Cortez said her campaign builds on Sanders’ message. She said that her campaign is part of a “national movement” to keep money out of politics and to make the Democratic Party more progressive.
According to Ocasio-Cortez, Crowley is the embodiment of a candidate who has become embedded in special interests.
“We’re not just talking about a congressman— we’re talking about the chair of the Queens Democratic party that is a notorious machine,” Ocasio-Cortez said.
“It’s an open secret— the very heavy role Joseph Crowley played in appointing the City Council speaker, and it’s highly unusual and it’s highly suspect for an incumbent to be chairman of a Democratic party presiding over his own endorsement.”
Ocasio-Cortez claims that Democratic voters have grown tired of establishment politics and will cast their ballots for her–a “true progressive.”
First, do your research on both candidates before making these uninformed comments.
I have been able to vote in Sunnyside for the last 10 years. I’ve never had the opportunity to vote in a democratic primary for my congressman. Crowley was appointed and not elected without any real challenger over the last 14 years — which was a red flag for me. I gave him the benefit of the doubt. I have spent the past few weeks researching both candidates to make an informed decision. I will be casting my vote for OCASIO-CORTEZ on June 26th.
Ocasio’s a proponent of affordable housing through expanding federal programs. Sunnyside residents are being pushed out by Crowley’s lack of action on proposed housing bills.
Plus, she’s not taking money from corporations, luxury rentals or special interests. When politicians like Crowley rely on money for re-election from these places, they will make decisions that ultimately hurt their constituents.
I <3 Sunnyside, but I probably won't be able to vote in the next election here because of rising rents and the cost of living.
Uh Oh!! All the white people’s heads have exploded!
Carrie Barbie. The newspaper is The Queens Chroicle. I’m posting the response here because the Reply function is not working.
Thanks. Methinks it’s time to write to them. And if you’re interested in this candidacy and actually having a democratic process, and, heaven forfend, a choice, I suggest you do likewise.
Everyone should ask the local Queens media why there’s been silence on an event which impacts everyone in the County yet there hasn’t been a single mention of the June 26h primary! As was said a long time ago, follow the money.
Jim Dillon for congress!
Jim Dillion vandalized empty storefronts.
A progressive democrat. Let’s hope she doesn’t win. She’ll just ruin whatever good is left in her district. 28 years old…a millennial in office. Might as well just bring back obama, they’ll both be just as ill informed and destructive.
Many agree that we would bring back Obama if we could.
Corporate Democrats with their “DCCC” are pressuring progressive ones to drop out of races. Crowley’s a big part of that.
“Candidates Who Signed Up to Battle Donald Trump Must Get Past the Democratic Party First”
Happy to see an article about her by this paper. I wish her success in the primary.
She lost my vote when I heard that word progressive.
Okay, I’ll bite. What’s your beef with progressive?
“Progressivism is the support for or advocacy of improvement of society by reform”. How is this a bad thing? Thank goodness for progressives, or we’d have the same old corrupt politicians all the time.
Once a progressive gets elected then you will see real corruption, they never practice what they preach.
Also, I think you’ll find a fair bit of corruption regardless of party.
Agreed, progressive should read communist or socialist at best.
I’m so glad this neighborhood will have a choice in this coming election to help move this nation toward a more fair and equitable place.
We lag behind so many other countries in making sure our citizens, especially the poor, working and middle classes, are shored up against calamity and death, so they may be free to enjoy life, liberty and the pursuit of happiness, as is the American promise.
The richest nation on earth can afford to provide healthcare and tuition-free college for all. We should not have so many of our citizens imprisoned. Everyone should have the opportunity to work and join the middle class. All the spoils of our toiling have gone to the wealthiest. It’s time for a peaceful revolution to take it back. It’s time our representatives truly represent us.
I’m voting for Ocasio-Cortez in the primary.
you lost me at bernie sanders….
by the way, NY has free tuition for all, at least for familes making i believe about 100,000 or less – you dont read the news? You liberals gotta take that one off your agenda.
by the way, nothings free. well all pay higher taxes
Mike, if you read about Cuomo’s free tuition, you’d find that very few have qualified for it. It’s a step in the right direction, but nowhere close to where it should be. College is the new high school and we pay taxes to keep the latter, middle, and elementary open for everyone.
You want us to stop paying higher taxes? Stop agreeing to corporate and high income tax cuts that only shift the burden on the rest of us to fund what we ALL need. Because in the end, yes, no one likes paying more taxes, but we’re the ones screwed in the end. Our tax cuts in the latest bill expire in the next decade. Guess who’s cuts aren’t? Those who earn much, much more than us.
And they’ll still pay far more than you.
Yes, but the percentage of their income that they pay in taxes is MUCH less than what most of us pay and THAT’S what matters.
You’ll have to try harder.
The percentage that they pay will be the highest as it was before the most recent tax cuts. You’ll have to get better at math.
How is life in Utopia?
The point is America has the money. We all pay taxes (well, not the big corporations). There’s enough money to provide all this. But it goes to perpetual war and the ultra-wealthy.
Honestly, the people who believe America can’t accomplish anything anymore are conservative. And centrists.
I like Crowley. I had a big problem and his office helped solve it.
I’m glad to hear that.
I like that we’ll have a choice this time, though. He got into office in a really shady, undemocratic way. For me, he’s too corporate.
Oh, this must be your first election. Welcome.
Thanks. Will they allow me to fill out the ballot with my crayons?
She does realize that all congressional candidates, including Rep. Crowley, cannot take corporate or union donations, correct?
Not true, Corporations also encapsulate board members, shareholders, stake holders and high-ranking executives.
How does one run against “machine politics” but highligh working for Ted Kennedy on their CV?
Hope others will run for this position. A choice between worse and worser! Not really a choice!
Kudos to the Sunnyside Post and the Queens Post for publishing important news affecting everyone in NY CD 14 and residents of the City generally. Other Queens news organizations are too afraid of the incumbent or totally unaware to report on Ms. Ocasio-Cortez’s candidacy. Recently, in response to an opinion column published by a borough-wide major Queens weekly promoting woman in City politics penned by the incumbent’s cousin, I submitted a Letter to the Editor urging that Ms. Ocasio-Cortez’s candidacy should also be recognized in discussion of female potential office holders in Queens. While that Queens weekly previously published several of my letters, the Editor told me that the paper would not published the letter concerning Ms. Ocasio-Cortez in essence because the Publisher was too afraid. TimesUp on the old guard, back room dealing, tone deaf, Corporatists, take care of my club house buddies system epitomized by Joe Crowley and Queens news organizations better catch up.
Name names. Which paper?
Is she one of the homeless people in Noonan Park?
Better looking than Joe.
My dog is better looking than Joe,,,,, and her btw
Great article here about how Crowley got in office. Hint: It wasn’t an election. https://www.villagevoice.com/2017/06/19/the-most-powerful-democrat-in-queens-must-finally-compete/
Yup. And you probably know that Ocasio-Cortez knows she has no chance of winning. It’s for recognition and to build coffers for future use.
Why replace one a powerful politicians, that happens to be in our backyard?
What would you know about how this neighborhood was like 20 yes ago. You were 8 yes old
I don’t see her support anything about term limits… That would be the best way to end a career polistitute.
This is a blatant way of getting minority votes and snubbing people whose families have lived here for decades. Progressive means spend your money for any and all dopey projects. Crowley is no prize but his lady will be a loon. What does she know about Queens? She would be DeBlasio in a dress.
Dooooooooooog whistllllllllllle! Tooooooooot!
you know she’s only going to help Hispanics, or favor hispanic people, and that’s it. You can see her agenda plain and simple. Vote against her if you Dont want her here. I say go back to the Bronx
Dog whistling is supposed to be more subtle than this.
you stupid racist…don’t you realize the white’s live in the Bronx too?
Another self server. Go away
Crowley’s any better?
Yes. He is