Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez, in her own words

Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez
Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez
Corey Torpie/For Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez

Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez, in her own words

The 10 best quotes from the congressional candidate’s New Yorker profile
July 16, 2018

In the latest media assessment of Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez, the likely next congresswoman from the 14th Congressional District, her background is explored just as deeply as her progressive ideas.

The New Yorker just published a profile of Ocasio-Cortez for its July 23 issue, detailing her history and her objectives, often in her own words. Ocasio-Cortez has become a flashpoint in American politics since her June 26 victory over longtime Rep. Joe Crowley. A self-proclaimed “democratic socialist,” she has been embraced by progressives across the country and condemned by right-wing commentators.

Here are the 10 best quotes by Ocasio-Cortez from her profile in The New Yorker:


On the aftermath of her win: “You’re speaking to me when I am still emotionally, intellectually, spiritually, and logistically processing all of this. The whole thing’s got me knocked a little flat.”


On her family members living in the Bronx when she was younger: “Their stories are not really mine to tell, but growing up they were wearing T-shirts with pictures of their friends who had died – and that’s just scraping the surface.”


On her father’s death during her sophomore year at Boston University: “My mother was done. My brother was lost. I took it hard, too, but I channelled it into my studies. That’s how I dealt with it. I was home for a week and went right back to school. The last thing my father had told me in the hospital was ‘Make me proud.’ I took it very literally. My G.P.A. skyrocketed.”


On when her brother sent an application on her behalf to Brand New Congress, an organization aiming to recruit progressive candidates to run for the House and the Senate: “But I was also working in a restaurant! I mean, it’s one of these things where it was, like, ‘Eff it. Sure. Whatever.’”


On her concerns when she first began her campaign: “Where did I get off? I mean, I’m going to tell people that I, as a waitress, should be their next congresswoman?”


On her initial campaign strategy to get Crowley to underestimate her: “When we were collecting signatures for the petition to get on the ballot, we didn’t advertise that we were getting four or five times more than we needed. We didn’t want to trigger his sense of urgency or his spend.”


On her first debate with Crowley: “Early in the day, I was losing my mind, I was so nervous. By the time I sat down, I thought he could see my heart leaping out of my chest.”


On her historic victory: “I’m twenty-eight years old, and I was elected on this super-idealistic platform. Folks may want to take that away from me, but I won. When you hear ‘She won just for demographic reasons,’ or low turnout, or that I won because of all the white ‘Bernie bros’ in Astoria – maybe that all helped. But I smoked this race. I didn’t edge anybody out. I dominated. And I am going to own that.”


On capitalism: “I do think we are in a crisis of late-stage capitalism, where people are working sixty, eighty hours a week and they can’t feed their families. There is a lot that is economically dystopic in this country. So that’s why people are open to change.”

On the lesson she learned when her father took her to Washington, D.C., when she was a child: “One day, his buddies went to get a beer or something, and he took me to the reflecting pool of the Washington Monument. I put my toes in the water, and suddenly the goldfish started to nibble my toes. It was a beautiful day, the sun was out, totally clear. And my dad pointed to all of it – the reflecting pool, the monuments, the Capitol, and he said, ‘You know, this is our government. All of this belongs to us. It belongs to you.’ And so, when I went to the Capitol, I thought about that. I feel like it’s supposed to belong to us. Not all of it belongs to all of us. Not yet. But that’s the whole point of going to Congress, isn’t it?”

Grace Segers
is City & State’s digital reporter. She writes daily content on New York City and New York state politics.