the city politic

Jessica Ramos Picks a Fight With AOC, for Some Reason

Photo-Illustration: Intelligencer. Photos: Getty Images

In a series of tweets Sunday, State Senator Jessica Ramos accused representative Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez of not being present enough in her home district and claimed that she hasn’t been able to contact the congresswoman herself in recent months. Ramos represents district 13 in Queens, which overlaps with AOC’s 14th Congressional District.

It all began after a Twitter user, whose profile identifies them as a medical student, tweeted that several academics recently met with Ocasio-Cortez staff members to discuss universal health care.

“They were told bluntly by AOC’s staff, ‘we’re not doing healthcare right now,’” they wrote.

The congresswoman responded to the tweet from her personal account, writing, “I’m really sorry to hear that this happened. It’s not representative of me nor my values. If you can connect with details I’d appreciate it.”

Ocasio-Cortez’s words prompted a strong and seemingly out-of-nowhere response from Ramos.

“Maybe if you spent more time in your office and with your team you’d know what goes on. Just saying it would be nice if you breathed our air,” Ramos said.

In another tweet responding to a Twitter user who called her words a “disappointing statement,” Ramos said, “Our district offices are on the same floor in the same building. She’s barely ever present in the community. It’s an indisputable fact.”

AOC has yet to respond, but several local politicians defended her from Ramos’s criticism. In response to another comment from Ramos where she said she hasn’t spoken to the congresswoman in months or even more than a year, Jabari Brisport, a fellow state senator, shared a photo reportedly from March 2022 that shows Ramos standing next to Ocasio-Cortez. Ramos replied, calling Brisport’s tweet “disingenuous.”

City Councilmember Tiffany Cabán said that Ramos’ experience isn’t representative of her own with Ocasio-Cortez.

“From being able to communicate & work with my Congressperson directly to our teams working closely on policy, organizing and a lot more, me and my neighbors have benefited a lot from the mutual collaboration,” she said.

Ramos has voiced similar complaints about Ocasio-Cortez before. In 2020, the congresswoman was publicly critical of a bill pushed by Ramos that would’ve added a $3 surcharge to online package deliveries. Ramos was frustrated, telling City & State at the time, “I reached out to her, she hasn’t reached out to me.” Still, her broadside had observers wondering about Ramos’s motivation. Some speculated that her airing of grievances was a prelude to an eventual primary challenge against Ocasio-Cortez who previously endorsed her for the state senate. Ramos, however, shut down that line of thinking several times.

“Nope. Not interested,” she said in one response.

In her critiques of AOC, Ramos echoed a sentiment that Ocasio-Cortez used against Joe Crowley, the incumbent congressman she defeated in 2018. In an ad from that campaign, Ocasio-Cortez said of Crowley,  “It’s time we acknowledge that not all Democrats are the same. That a Democrat who takes corporate money, profits off foreclosure, doesn’t live here, doesn’t send his kids to our schools, doesn’t drink our water or breathe our air cannot not possibly represent us.”

Jessica Ramos Picked a Fight With AOC, for Some Reason