GOOD

Newly-elected House member Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez has a problem most Americans can totally relate to.

She’s truly a working-class politician.

Photo by Corie Torpie/Wikimedia Commons

We often discuss the importance of electing lawmakers who reflect the cultural and ethnic composition of the country. While that has been slowly improving over time, there has been no movement to improve the socioeconomic diversity of our leaders.


According to a report by Quartz, in 2015, the median member of the U.S. Congress was worth at least $1.1 million. That is more than 12 times greater than the net wealth of the median U.S. household.

And the wealth gap is only getting larger.

So how can we trust our elected officials to act in the best interests of everyday Americans when their economic realities are so different?

This question is the reason why a recent interview with newly-elected House member Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez is so refreshing.

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Ocasio-Cortez, 29, who just became the youngest woman ever elected to Congress, lives in an apartment in the Bronx, an area she now represents. But she will have to move to Washington, D.C. when she starts her new job.

The problem is, she doesn’t get paid for her new job for another three months.

She told The New York Times that her situation is unusual because “I can’t really take a salary. I have three months without a salary before I’m a member of Congress,” she said. “So, how do I get an apartment? Those little things are very real.”

Ocasio-Cortez saved up some money from her previous job at a restaurant which she quit to hit the campaign trail.

“We’re kind of just dealing with the logistics of it day by day, but I’ve really been just kind of squirreling away and then hoping that gets me to January,” she said.

One can be sure there are plenty of people in Washington that would love to loan the overnight Democratic sensation some cash so she can find a place to live. D.C. is a town that runs on favors.

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