New York Congresswoman Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez (Rep. D-NY) held a rally at UC Irvine to encourage young Californians to vote in the upcoming midterm elections.
The Orange County Young Democrats organized the event and encouraged younger voters to get involved in politics and run for public office.
Shayanne Wright, a candidate for a seat in the Mesa Water District board, compared the turnout of young voters to “chicken and eggs.”
“When you’re thinking about a problem, and you can’t decide if the source or the symptom is the problem,” Wright said. “What would make young voters turnout more? Would it be younger candidates or would it be other young people getting them inspired?”
Kathleen Treseder, a UCI climate scientist and candidate for Irvine City Council, spoke before AOC.
The UCI professor advocated for legislation that would fight climate change, such as the Paris Climate Agreement and the Green New Deal.
“In 2017 we watched live as President Trump announced that he intended to remove the US from the Paris Climate Agreement,” Treseder said. “I realized I needed to get out and fight for climate action and to make Irvine greenhouse gas neutral by 2030.”
When AOC spoke to the audience, she had to talk over the Trump supporters who continued to yell at her to “Go back to where you came from,” and called her a “warmonger.”
Rep. Ocasio-Cortez energized the crowd by echoing the efforts she advocated for during her campaigns, such as free education, abortion rights and gender-affirming care. She also emphasized the importance of the Democrats remaining in office after the midterms.
“We need to make sure that we protect our democracy from [Republicans] not certifying the election. We know that Republicans want to prevent the peaceful transition of power,” Rep. Ocasio-Cortez said. “By 2024, 45% of this electorate will be made up of millennials and Gen Z. We need to start laying the foundation now.”
The New York congresswoman also endorsed Katie Porter for re-election in California’s 45th congressional district.
AOC explained that Monday is the final day to register to vote in California and that voters can register for an absentee ballot to send in the mail.