One year ago, you could find Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez working behind the bar at Flats Fix, a small taqueria near Union Square. Come January, you will find her in Washington D.C., representing New York’s 14th District as the youngest woman ever elected to Congress.
But just because she is making history, doesn’t mean she is making money. Ocasio-Cortez recently revealed that she is currently unable to rent a D.C. apartment.
Her transition period will be “very unusual, because I can’t really take a salary,” she said in an interview with The New York Times. “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.”
According to real-estate website Zillow, the median rent in Washington, D.C., is $2,700.
Ocasio-Cortez is a former organizer for Bernie Sanders’ presidential campaign and previously worked for the late Senator Ted Kennedy. She also was an education director at the National Hispanic Institute. In 2008, Ocasio-Cortez’s father passed away from cancer when he was just 48. In order to help fight off foreclosure on her family’s apartment in the Bronx, Ocasio-Cortez took on several jobs in restaurants — often working 18-hour shifts.
“For 80 percent of this campaign, I operated out of a paper grocery bag hidden behind that bar,” she tells Bon Appetit, explaining that she would keep a change of clothes and her political literature behind the bar so she could canvass between shifts.
During this time, Ocasio-Cortez and her partner planned ahead and saved as much money as they could. According to Yahoo, the representative-elect shares a one-bedroom apartment in the Parkchester neighborhood of the Bronx with her partner.
“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 told The New York Times.
Housing affordability is a pillar of Ocasio-Cortez’s political platform and was a key issue in her primary campaign against leading House Democrat Joe Crowley.
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SOURCE: CNBC – Abigail Hess