Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez, 28, stunned the Democratic Party and the nation when she ousted Rep. Joe Crowley, a 10-term congressman and the chair of the House Democratic Caucus in New York’s 14th Congressional District.
Ocasio-Cortez’s victory is even more stunning considering that less than a year ago, she was working as a bartender at a restaurant in New York City’s Union Square.
Jeff Stein, Washington Post political reporter, shared a photo of Ocasio working at the bar in November 2017.
The website for Flats Fix, the Mexican restaurant and bar where she worked, still features her in a promotional photo on their website.
Economic justice was a main component of Ocasio-Cortez’s campaign, with her platform advocating federal job guarantee, free college tuition, and Medicare for all.
She also drew on her life experience growing up in a working-class family in the Bronx to connect with voters.
After graduating from Boston University in 2011, she worked additional jobs waitressing and bartending along with taking a position at non-profit in order to help her mother, who cleaned houses and drove buses. Her father passed away while she was in college.
“Our campaign was focused on just a laser focused message of economic, social and racial dignity for working class Americans, especially those in Queens and the Bronx. We were very clear about our message, very clear about our priorities,” Ocasio told MSNBC’s Mika Brzezinski on Wednesday morning, the day after her victory.