The Iconic Senator That Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez Used To Work For

Before Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez, colloquially known as "AOC," became one of the most well-known members of the House of Representatives, she was tending bar in the Bronx by night while working for an educational nonprofit by day and simply trying to make ends meet as a woman in her 20s. 

She had degrees in economics and international relations from Boston University under her belt — as well as the student loans she'd be paying back for years, like so many others of her generation — and an idea that the world could and should be a better place (via Time).

While still in college, Ocasio-Cortez even got her first taste of what politics is really like as she interned in the local Massachusetts office of a senator who came from one of the most famous families in America. Perhaps it was that time seeing how American legislative life really worked that inspired Ocasio-Cortez to run for office and make a difference at such a young age. 

Keep reading to find out who that famous senator was.

Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez got her feet wet with the Kennedys

For nearly five decades, Edward "Ted" Kennedy, the youngest of Joseph Kennedy's sons, served in the United States Senate. After his brother John F. Kennedy was elected president, Kennedy ran to replace him and won his Massachusetts seat in 1962 at the age of 30. He went on to serve in the Senate until his death in 2009 (via Biography).

Just a few years prior, Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez got her feet wet in congressional politics when she interned in Senator Kennedy's office, not far from where she was attending college at Boston University. According to her official congressional website, Ocasio-Cortez got to see firsthand how American immigration policies hurt families, especially ones that were separated by Immigration and Customs Enforcement. 

Her experience as a Kennedy intern led her to organize young Latinx people in her home borough of the Bronx and across the country, eventually landing her a job as an educational director with the National Hispanic Institute.

Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez found another famous senator to work for

By 2016, Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez was inspired by a movement and a man who motivated many young people at the time. She joined Senator Bernie Sanders' movement as a volunteer, going door to door to help him win the primary and become the Democratic nominee for president. 

"I had done grassroots organizing before," she told Time. "But Sanders' race was one of my first times where I crossed that bridge from grassroots community organizing to electoral organizing."

Hillary Clinton ended up winning that primary and losing the general election to Donald Trump, but, once AOC was a member of the House and Sanders decided to run for president again, she was his biggest champion.

When Sanders suffered a heart attack during his campaign and was forced to take time off, he learned from his hospital bed that Ocasio-Cortez, one of the biggest names in the progressive movement, would endorse him, according to Politico. As of this writing, the two have been working together to pass a bold progressive plan through Congress, the Build Back Better Act.

Not bad for a young woman from the Bronx who was around the same age as the first senator she worked for, Ted Kennedy, when they were both first elected to office.