You might not agree with the politics of Alexandria-Ocasio Cortez, but it seems like she's doing at least one thing that might be worth giving her a round of applause. On Friday, Feb. 22, Roll Call reported that the freshman congresswoman will pay her staff quite the salary, a move that is aimed at her call to fellow lawmakers to pay their employees a "livable wage." So, how much is Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez's staff salary, you ask? You probably haven't ever seen an entry-level salary like this.
The New York representative introduced a policy that said no one in her office will make less than $52,000 annually, per Roll Call. It's an unusual amount for staffers in Washington D.C., where the average cost of rent is reportedly more than $2,000, but to Ocasio-Cortez, it's worth it. "It’s likely one of the highest entry-level salaries on the Hill," she tweeted on Feb. 22. "We pinch pennies elsewhere, but it’s worth every dime to pay a living wage." Elite Daily reached out to representatives for Ocasio-Cortez for further comment on her policy, but did not hear back by the time of publication.
The effort will reportedly require some sacrifices from employees with the highest salaries, which might not be the best news for some. But as Ocasio-Cortez’s communications director, Corbin Trent, told the outlet, “I don’t think you always put the burden on the bottom.” Trent, who has two children and makes $67,000 a year, continued:
Is it easy? No. But part of walking the walk is understanding that everyone is going to have a little bit of a struggle. You divide it up. You work together.
The update comes shortly after Ocasio-Cortez also announced that she would pay her interns at least $15 an hour. After expressing her disappointment in Congress for relying on unpaid interns, the congresswoman tweeted on Dec. 4, 2018 that her office would be doing things differently. "Time to walk the walk," she wrote. "Very few members of Congress actually pay their interns. We will be one of them."
It's not surprising that Ocasio-Cortez is making these kinds of moves, if you ask me. Just a year before winning her seat in Congress, she was working as a bartender to make ends meet — and the struggle continued even after she won in the November 2018 midterm elections. In an interview with The New York Times following her victory, Ocasio--Cortez said she couldn't afford rent in Washington D.C. until her congressional salary kicked in in January 2019. "We’re kind of just dealing with the logistics of it day by day, but I've really been just kind of squirreling away and then hoping that gets me to January," Ocasio-Cortez explained to the outlet.
She seemed to have figured it out, but some people aren't always so lucky, so it's good to see her trying to do something about it, especially when it comes to helping people earns a living wage.
Who knows — maybe she'll even set an example on a larger scale. We'll see.