NEW YORK (AP) — Rep. Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez returned to her home district in the New York City borough of the Bronx on Saturday to encourage her supporters to keep up the kind of activism that resulted in Amazon rescinding its plan to build a campus in the city.
The freshman Democratic lawmaker did not mention Amazon by name but said, “It’s not just about any job, it’s about dignified jobs in New York City. We do not have to settle for scraps in the greatest city in the world.”
Ocasio-Cortez’s district encompassing parts of the Bronx and Queens adjoins the Long Island City neighborhood where Amazon planned to build its campus, and she was one of the early politicians to voice opposition to the tech giant’s plans.
Amazon, which had promised to bring at least 25,000 jobs to New York City, cited opposition by elected officials when it announced Thursday that it was abandoning its plan for a secondary headquarters in Queens.
Ocasio-Cortez told about 300 cheering supporters gathered at a Bronx high school for a ceremonial swearing-in ceremony, “If people do not want to negotiate, that’s their problem, not ours.”
Democratic Gov. Andrew Como blamed “a small group” of politicians who “put their own narrow political interests above their community” for the death of the deal.
But fellow Amazon critics who attended Ocasio-Cortez’s event were unabashed.
“We know how to throw down when we have to in Queens,” said state Sen. Michael Gianaris, a Democrat who opposed the plan to offer $2.7 billion in tax incentives and subsidies for an Amazon headquarters in his district. He added, “Democrats attacking other Democrats because they’re standing up for their community is wrong and it’s got to stop.”
Ocasio-Cortez, a liberal firebrand who has become the most visible new member of Congress, credited her constituents for helping to pressure Congress to end the federal government shutdown and for giving her the clout to introduce the Green New Deal, an ambitious plan to address climate change.
“We entered and were sworn in to a government shutdown,” Ocasio-Cortez said. “We had to navigate a situation, a hostage situation where Republicans took federal workers’ paychecks hostage in order to build an unpopular wall that the majority of the American people don’t want. We ended it. We got through it. We defeated it. It wasn’t us that ended the government shutdown. It was you.”