There is no question that Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez, also known as AOC, is one of the highest-profile members of the newest class in Congress. She started to make waves when she challenged then Rep. Joe Crowley for his seat, which he held for 20 years, running as Democratic Socialist with a highly progressive platform that called for free higher education, universal healthcare, and the abolishment of I.C.E, amongst other important issues. Ocasio-Cortez faced many odds, but despite being outspent 10-1 due to her refusal to take any funding from PAC’s, she won the Democratic nominee for Congress in the NY-14 district.
It’s no secret that our campaign is being outspent 10-1 by an absentee Rep.
This is what it looks like. These are the mailers I’ve gotten to my personal mailbox alone.
— Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez (@AOC) June 21, 2018
AOC has defeated the odds at every turn and now as a new member of Congress, she is making even more waves by advocating for the very issues that were a part of her platform. But what we all can not stop buzzing about is her powerful use of social media, including her flawless and effortless means of using twitter to backfire against the countless smear campaigns that have already been lodged against her, including the infamous Boston College dancing video.
AOC has utilized social media in a way that no other public servant has before. She has made herself accessible not only to her constituents but to citizens across the nation and has given us all an inside look as to how Congress actually works, revealing the insider politics that U.S Citizens have not been privy to in the past, and giving a refreshing and awe-inspiring level of transparency that has not been offered before. On that note, here are the top 5 things you did not know about Congress, courtesy of Ocasio-Cortez
1. New Member Orientation
I’m not sure why I thought that members of Congress were essentially thrown into the lion’s den, forced to figure it out on their own? To my defense, new member orientation is fairly new and started in the late ’80s. Thanks to Ocasio-Cortez use of social media, she is giving us a rundown on how things are done.
According to her Instagram, when new members of Congress are elected, they are sent new member packets that give them details on the new member orientation process, one thought to be led by other leaders within the government. When Ocasio-Cortez and other freshman members of Congress attended a “bipartisan” orientation where invited panelists offered insights to inform new Congress-members views as they prepared to legislate. The problem that Ocasio-Cortez pointed out is that these panelists were Corporate CEOs as opposed to Labor Leaders.
Right now Freshman members of Congress are at a “Bipartisan” orientation w/ briefings on issues.
Invited panelists offer insights to inform new Congressmembers‘ views as they prepare to legislate.
# of Corporate CEOs we’ve listened to here: 4
# of Labor leaders: 0
— Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez (@AOC) December 6, 2018
2. How Leadership is Formally Chosen
Another golden nugget of information provided by Ocasio-Cortez’s innovative use of social media is how leadership is formally chosen in Congress. From members nominating other members, speeches, and voting.
It’s on – #GreenNewDeal is now picking up steam in the Senate.
I had an incredible time with @SenMarkey today, taking notes on his ‘07 Select Committee and how we can leverage past work into pushing for a GND today. He’s in.
Thank you Sen. Markey for your climate leadership! 💪🏽 https://t.co/xGgsZVJPTd
— Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez (@AOC) December 3, 2018
3. The Green New Deal
We learned from Ocasio Cortez that orientation is not slowing her down and that she can multi-task. During orientation, Ocasio-Cortez was already making moves by pushing for The Green New Deal, which is a progressive vision for environmental sustainability and economic sustainability.
The Green New Deal is not a new concept by any means, but with Progressives and leaders like Ocasio-Cortez taking the wheel, the platform it is being presented on is gaining more and more attention. The Green New Deal is a massive program of investments in clean-energy jobs and infrastructure, meant to transform not just the energy sector, but the entire economy. It is meant both to decarbonize the economy and to make it fairer and more just. Environmental Sustainability and job growth were one of two major issues on Ocasio-Cortez platform and she is showing not only her constituents, but all Americans that she is not all talk, and will take action.
4. You Get a Handy-Dandy Guide
When elected to Congress, new members get an official Congressional Management Guide that takes them through the entire Congressional process. From hiring staff, and setting up office to discussing how to develop a strategic plan for their term. Congressional members only have 60 days to do it! Thanks to these Instagram postings, Ocasio-Cortez also informed her audience that anyone can purchase the guide.
5. Leadership Positions
Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez: Instagram stories
Ocasio-Cortez shows us the formal side of gaining support from fellow members of Congress when running for leadership positions. According to Ocasio-Cortez, there are so many positions, some with no actual responsibility, that it would not be surprising if everyone could have a position. This little tid-bit shows just how daunting office can be when you first enter.
Ocasio-Cortez has offered the public a sincere look into what Congress currently looks like, and what it can look like when we are all informed and work towards change. We can not change what we do not know and that is how Ocasio-Cortez is changing the game, which makes her a powerhouse in Congress. The public wants transparency and change and she has promised the public both.