Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez Joins Climate-Change Protest in Pelosi’s Office

Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez (Andrew Kelly/Reuters )

Progressive representative-elect Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez made an appearance Tuesday at a protest in Nancy Pelosi’s office calling for more action on climate change.

Fresh from her victory last week, the New York City Democrat, who shot to fame after her shocking upset of ten-term incumbent representative Joe Crowley in a June primary, joined the sit-in for a few minutes, offering her support and giving high fives to the activists in attendance.

“I just want to let you all know how proud I am of each and every single one of you for putting yourselves and your bodies and everything on the line to make sure that we save our planet, our generation, and our future,” Ocasio-Cortez told the group during her first trip to Capitol Hill for a congressional orientation. “We do not have a choice. We have to get to 100 percent renewable energy.”

The protest was organized by the Sunrise Movement, whose goal is to create an “army of young people to stop climate change and create millions of good jobs in the process,” according to its Twitter account. The group is pushing Democrats to embrace a “Green New Deal” by reinstating the Select Committee for Global Warming and giving it power to legislate and make the economy energy-renewable over the next ten years.

“We welcome the presence of these activists,” Pelosi said in a statement. “We are inspired by the energy and activism of the many young activists and advocates leading the way on the climate crisis, which threatens the health, economic security and futures of all our communities.”

The minority leader urged Capitol police to allow the protesters to demonstrate.

Ocasio-Cortez and the veteran congressional leader previously sparred indirectly on the campaign trail.

“It’s not just one district,” the 28-year-old Latina said during her campaign in response to Pelosi’s warning not to assume the Democratic party is headed in a socialist direction based on the young socialist’s victory.

Ocasio-Cortez has been reticent about whether she will support Pelosi’s bid for speaker of the House in the next Congress, where Democrats will again have the majority.

Democratic Representative-elect Rashida Tlaib of Michigan also joined Ocasio-Cortez and the protesters.

Later, the protesters were arrested and escorted out, accordingto a Capitol police officer. The group said 51 people were arrested.

“We welcome Nancy Pelosi’s support, but words are not enough,” the Sunrise Movement responded in a statement. “Her solution is to resurrect a committee with no funding and no power to take legislative action.” The group added that if Pelosi does not meet its demands, she should step aside in favor of someone who will.

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