Queens Rep. Ocasio-Cortez responds to criticism from challenger regarding postponed debate

From left: Congresswoman Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez and Michelle Caruso Cabrera Photos courtesy of Rep. Alexandria Ocasio Cortez and Michelle Cabrera


On Friday, NY-14 Congressional candidate Michelle Caruso-Cabrera accused Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez of not wanting to debate her and not replying to her efforts to hold an official debate.

However, AOC’s campaign does not agree with these assertions. While they did receive an email regarding a debate, Ocasio-Cortez campaign spokesman Ivet Contreras pointed out nowhere in the letter did it directly ask for a debate.

An excerpt from the email states:

“The voters deserve to hear from the two candidates, one-on-one, facing off in the June 23 Democratic primary. As the candidate challenging the incumbent I am asking for: two debates in Queens, two debates in the Bronx and two debates in Spanish.”

Contreras said the email dated May 11, was sent to them, but began with “Dear Press,” so it seemed it was for the media, not the campaign. She noted if it was addressed directly to AOC or the campaign they would have replied.

“We have not received anything directly addressed to our campaign from the Caruso-Cabrera campaign,” Contreras said.

While Caruso-Cabrera asserted they had been in touch with BronxNet to set up a debate that has already been rescheduled two times, Contreras explained there was a valid reason. The debate was postponed because of the Heroes Act vote. House leadership announced early last week that they were calling members back, with just 72 hours notice.

In fact, on Friday the Congresswoman voted in support of the Heroes Act, which will provide hazard pay to essential workers, state and local funding, financial relief to immigrants who had been left out of previous bills and an additional $1,200 stimulus check.

Caruso-Cabrera also wanted to know why Ocasio-Cortez voted “No” to the stimulus legislation, which all of the fellow Democratic Congressional Delegation supported. Also she questioned why the congresswoman frequently traveled across America for Bernie Sanders, instead of helping the community

Contreras told the Bronx Times she voted against two other bills on COVID-19 funding because they did not go far enough. Instead, these measures provided a corporate bailout and left the community with nothing. This legislation also neglected to provide funding for state and local governments and Governor Cuomo urged the New York delegation to vote against these bills.

In regard to spending too much time with Sanders, Contreras claims the Congresswoman has only spent 4 percent of her time in office to date campaigning for him or any other political candidate.

While Caruso-Cabrera stressed how she has been aiding the community during the pandemic, Ocasio-Cortez has been doing the same.

The congresswoman has delivered over 772 meals to the Bronx during COVID-19 to a Glebe Avenue NYCHA senior complex, Pelham Parkway houses, Parkside houses and Throggs Neck Houses.

The campaign’s field team and volunteers have made over 78,000 calls to check on Bronx residents’ well-being and connect them with local resources. Also, the campaign has raised nearly $576,000 for 26 community groups exclusively through small-dollar, grassroots donors.

These groups are providing personal protective equipment (PPE) to frontline workers, funding food pantries and grocery drop offs to low-income families and seniors, as well as financial support to undocumented families, service workers, construction workers, domestic workers and Amazon warehouse workers in NY-14.

This story first appeared on bxtimes.com.