To call Jessica Cisneros, the next Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez would be unjust. She is a smart Latina running for Congress — so, yes, the similarities are definitely there. Cisneros, however, is a strong Democratic candidate in her own right. If elected, the 26-year-old who was born and raised in Laredo, Texas, would be the youngest person elected to Congress — a title that Rep. Ocasio-Cortez would be happy to give up.
“When Cisneros is elected, not only will I no longer be the youngest person in Congress — I’ll have a strong new ally in the fight for Medicare for All, getting corporate money out of politics, and fixing our broken immigration system,” Rep. Ocasio-Cortez said in her official endorsement.
Like, Rep. Ocasio-Cortez, Cisneros is attempting to do what some deem as a challenge: to unseat an eight-term congressman Democratic Latino. Cisneros refers to him as “Trump’s favorite Democrat.” She also happened to intern for him, as well.
In an interview with the New York Times, she said her experience as an intern opened her eyes to the reality of longterm politicians. While she was excited to work for him, he showed zero to little interest in how to better the community that he was elected to serve.
“Once I got there, I noticed his silence on a lot of things I care about: women’s rights, poverty, health care,” she told the Times. “People I know with diabetes have to go to Nuevo Laredo for medications because it’s so expensive. He knew I was from the district. Never once did he come up to me and say: ‘What do you think I should be doing?'”
Five years ago @JCisnerosTX worked as an intern for Rep. Henry Cuellar. Now she is challenging him to represent Texas’ 28th Congressional District. If elected, Jessica will be the first Latina to represent her district and the youngest woman ever to serve in Congress. Dream big! pic.twitter.com/lmNDTQCIwB
— EMILY's List (@emilyslist) October 20, 2019
She adds, “He is from here, yet he is getting money from private prisons and immigrant detention centers. That is going to be a big part of our campaign. Because he has not had a primary since 2006, his record hasn’t been an issue. There’s a lot he has never had to justify before this.”
For anyone assuming that a 26-year-old would not be equipped to handle the demands of Capitol Hill, Cisneros is not your typical millennial. As the valedictorian of her high school, Cisneros got her undergraduate degree from the University of Texas at Austin, a law degree from the University of Texas Law School, where she specialized in immigration law. She’s also won numerous awards for her legal and advocacy work.
As the daughter of Mexican immigrants, Cisneros understands the issues people face in Texas because she is one of those people. She’s experienced first-hand the failing healthcare system after her sister needed urgent care. She’s also seen the difficulties of small business because her father, a farmworker, has his own trucking company. Through her father and mother— who works as a human rights lawyer — Cisneros knows that with hard work, anything is possible.
Cisneros looks to be a shoo-in, especially because she’s been endorsed by several notable Democrats including Sen. Elizabeth Warren, House Speaker Nancy Pelosi and has the full support of the Working Families Party, and the Justice Democrats. So, please, enough with the AOC comparisons.
“People think because I am a young Latina who is trying to help the Democratic Party, I am just like her,” she told the Times. “I have a lot of admiration for her, but that doesn’t mean we’re the same. I am trying to be the first Jessica Cisneros, and just do that well.”