Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez has outlined where she wants the Democratic Party to head in the future, following Speaker Nancy Pelosi’s announcement that she will not seek a post in House leadership in the next Congress.
“I think overall, core principles are the same. I of course want to see our party move to greater independence from large corporate donors,” the New York progressive told The Independent.
“I would like to see a greater shift toward everyday, small-dollar, diverse sources of funding,” she added.
Ms Ocasio-Cortez said that Ms Pelosi served as an important role model for her and other young women who wanted to work in politics.
“I hadn’t even graduated public school when she ascended to the speakership,” she said. “So, in a way, she normalised that kind of leadership for a generation that grew up already having that seat, and of course, it was an inspiration for those who have lived through much longer struggles.”
Ms Ocasio-Cortez hugged Ms Pelosi after the speaker’s floor speech in which she announced that she was leaving her leadership role.
It’s expected that Hakeem Jeffries, Katherine Clark, and Pete Aguilar will be the new top three Democrats.
“The Capitol is a temple of our democracy, of our constitution and our highest ideals,” Ms Pelosi said in a speech on the House floor on Thursday.
“The hour has come for a new generation to lead the Democratic caucus,” she added.
“Now we must move boldly into the future, grounded by the principles that have propelled us this far, and open to fresh possibilities for the future.”
President Joe Biden praised Ms Pelosi in a statement put out shortly after she finished her floor speech on Thursday.
“There are countless examples of how she embodies the obligation of elected officials to uphold their oath to God and country to ensure our democracy delivers and remains a beacon to the world,” Mr Biden said. “In everything she does, she reflects a dignity in her actions and a dignity she sees in the lives of the people of this nation.”
“With her leading the way, you never worry about whether a bill will pass. If she says she has the votes, she has the votes. Every time,” the president added.
“American democracy is majestic, but it is fragile,” Ms Pelosi said in her floor speech. “Democracy must be forever defended … Last week, the American people spoke … in defence of liberty, the rule of law and democracy itself.”
The second-ranking House Democrat, Steny Hoyer of Maryland, will, like Ms Pelosi, remain in the House but step down from his leadership role.
Majority Whip Jim Clyburn of South Carolina tweeted that “it has been a great privilege and high honour to serve in the House and its leadership alongside Speaker Pelosi. As a historic leader, she has met the challenges of guiding this body through the best and worst of times”.
“Her steady hand, principled policies, and unmatched ability to build consensus among the most diverse caucus the country has ever known are hallmarks of her storied career,” he added. “Speaker Pelosi has left an indelible mark on Congress and the country, and I look forward to her continued service and doing whatever I can to assist our new generation of Democratic Leaders which I hope to be Hakeem Jeffries, Katherine Clark, and Pete Aguilar.”
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