Leftist representative-elect Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez of New York participated in a protest at the Capitol Hill office of House Minority Leader Nancy Pelosi where activists called for action on climate change. Ocasio-Cortez, who had been a member of the Democratic Socialists of America, became famous because of her primary victory in June over incumbent Rep. Joe Crowley (D-NY). She and fellow leftist Democrats Ayanna Pressley and Rashida Tlaib are among the progressives who will serve in the new Congress that convenes in January. 

On Tuesday, Ocasio-Cortez joined activists in their sit-in for a few minutes while exchanging greetings. She told the group on her first visit to Capitol Hill, “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 added, “We do not have a choice. We have to get to 100 percent renewable energy.” The young representative-elect was in Washington to participate in an orientation to the chamber where she will serve.

The Sunrise Movement, the group which organized the protest, has as its goal the creation of an “army of young people to stop climate change and create millions of good jobs in the process,” according to its Twitter account. It is calling on Democrats to endorse a what it calls a “Green New Deal” with the resurrection of the House Select Committee on Global Warming, which would mandate renewable energy for the economy over the next decade. 

Responding in a statement, Pelosi said, “We welcome the presence of these activists.” The California Democrat added, “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.” On Twitter, Pelosi stated, “Deeply inspired by the young activists & advocates leading the way on confronting climate change. The climate crisis threatens the futures of communities nationwide, and I strongly support reinstating the select committee to address the crisis.”

For the Sunrise Movement, words do not suffice. In a statement, the group said, “We welcome Nancy Pelosi’s support, but words are not enough.” It went on to say, “Her solution is to resurrect a committee with no funding and no power to take legislative action.” If Pelosi does not yield, the group said that she should step down for a new Speaker of the House who will comply with its demands. 



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Spero News writer Martin Barillas is a former US diplomat, who also worked as a democracy advocate and election observer in Latin America. His first novel 'Shaken Earth', is available at Amazon.

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