Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez, 29, became the youngest woman ever elected to Congress on Tuesday, but until her congressional salary begins in January 2019, she can’t afford to live in Washington, D.C.
After winning the race to represent New York’s 14th District, Democrat Ocasio-Cortez told the New York Times that the three-month window between the midterm elections and her taking office in January “will be very, very unusual because I can’t really take a salary.”
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She went on to say that “I have three months without a salary before I’m a member of Congress. So, how do I get an apartment? Those little things are very real.”
The Puerto Rican New Yorker — a former organizer for Bernie Sanders and former bartender — was elected to Congress after her primary victory over one of the most powerful House Democrats, Rep. Joe Crowley.
Ocasio told the Times that she’d been saving and planning for these three months with her partner since she left her job at a restaurant to campaign full time.
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“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 in the interview.
Since the story was published, Ocasio-Cortez has received a wave of support on social media, some even offering her a place to stay until January.
As news outlets began to circulate the news about her financial situation, she took to Twitter to defend not only herself but all other lower-income Americans as well.
“There is no reason to be ashamed or embarrassed. Mocking lower incomes is exactly how those who benefit from + promote wealth inequality the most keep everyday people silent about 1 of the worst threats to American society: that the rich are getting richer and the poor, poorer,” Ocasio-Cortez tweeted.
She also responded after Fox News commentators poked fun at her difficulty paying rent in Washington D.C..
“40% of ALL Americans currently struggle to pay for one basic need like food or rent. As much as
@FoxNews likes to mock the working-class, the real scandal is that at the wealthiest point in our history, we are at one of our most unequal. Most Americans are barely scraping by,” she continued.
She assured her fans that she and her partner have been saving and are prepared for the transition period.