Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez youngest woman ever elected to Congress


    FILE - In this June 27, 2018, file photo, Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez, a winner of a Democratic Congressional primary in New York speaks to a reporter. Ocasio-Cortez, a rising liberal star who toppled 10-term Democratic Rep. Joe Crowley in a primary, is scheduled to speak at a fundraiser in downtown Los Angeles. (AP Photo/Mary Altaffer,File)

    At 29, Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez is the youngest woman elected to Congress. Ocasio-Cortez has said she is still paying off her student loans and until recently had no health insurance.

    Watch her victory speech in the video player above.

    She shocked many in New York politics, including herself, when she came out of nowhere to defeat 10-term Rep. Joe Crowley in New York's Democratic congressional primary last spring.

    The victory made her the national face of young, discontented Democrats — often women and minorities — trying to shove their party to the left.

    "Words cannot express my gratitude to have the organizer and the small-time donor and the working parent and dreamer who helped make this movement happen," Ocasio-Cortez told supporters at her victory speech Tuesday night. "And that's exactly what this is. Not a campaign or an election bid -- but a movement, a larger movement for social, economic and racial justice in the United States of America.

    Ocasio-Cortez was born in the Bronx but raised in suburban Westchester County. Her father died while she was a student at Boston University in 2008. She got her start in politics as an organizer for U.S. Sen. Bernie Sanders. She calls herself a "Democratic socialist" and supports a national $15 minimum wage and universal health care coverage.

    She takes the record for the youngest woman elected to Congress from Rep. Elise Stefanik, a Republican representing upstate New York who was elected at age 30. American voters have elected many men in their 20s to Congress.

    "Because I think we all know deep down here and across the country, that our deepest challenges are not left and right, they are not red and blue, they are top and bottom," she continued. "They are right and wrong. And that if we are going to turn this ship around as a country, it is not good enough to throw a rock at our neighbor's yard. We need to clean up our own house, that's what we've got to do."

    Sinclair Broadcast Group national online news producer Nick DiMarco contributed to this report.

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