In a recent interview with Rolling Stone, Democratic “rock star” Representative Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez (D-New York) talked about advice she got from fellow democratic socialist Senator Bernie Sanders (I-Vermont).
In no small part, Sanders and Ocasio-Cortez have fueled one another. Ocasio-Cortez’s meteoric rise has been credited as a sign of the legacy of Sanders’ 2016 presidential bid, which brought socialist-leaning Democrats out into the light of day and gave them a place in the political discourse.
And, in turn, she provided the pure distillation of counter-example to a narrative that 2018 was bad for progressives. Ocasio-Cortez spent her first day in DC with activists calling for the Green New Deal, which has become her signature legislation. She’s driven the debate in the House the way Sanders has in the Senate — toward progressive values most Americans support.
So it’s little surprise that Sanders’ advice to Ocasio-Cortez was essentially to run toward her values and passions.
“Well, we haven’t gotten a beer since I’ve gotten here, but [during my campaign] I was able to pick his brain and ask him for advice,” Ocasio-Cortez told Rolling Stone. “One of the functional pieces of advice was just that you spend a lot of time in your committee, so it’s really important to pick a subject that you’re passionate about.”
And she did. Ocasio-Cortez has been remarkably effective in committee hearings ranging from discussing big pharma to questioning Michael Cohen to exposing the lax ethical standards the president is held to.
And odds are good that the Bronx Democrat will be named to the influential Financial Services Committee helmed by fellow famous Congresswoman Maxine Waters (D-California).
“That was in my top three picks,” she said. “It’s a pretty powerful committee in terms of what it can regulate. I’m excited about it.”
How Ocasio-Cortez will handle Congressional hearings over the financial industry will, doubtless, be a sight to see.
Katelyn Kivel is a contributing editor and senior legal reporter for Grit Post in Kalamazoo, Michigan. Follow her on Twitter @KatelynKivel.