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AOC in ATX: Ocasio-Cortez joins Greg Casar for Austin rally

Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez has a long history of campaigning in Texas. (Laura Figi/Austonia)

Austinites circled the block around Red River's Mohawk venue Sunday morning as they waited to catch a glimpse of New York U.S. Rep. Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez and Austin City Council alum Greg Casar during a rally for Casar’s congressional run.

The two paired up for the “Rally for Our Rights,” which focused on the power of Latino organizing and helped fundraise for Casar’s campaign, beginning at 11 a.m. Sunday.

The line to get in wrapped around two blocks. (Laura Figi/Austonia)

Locals lined up along East Ninth Street and waited patiently to get into the rally. Attendees said they were attending in the interest of reproductive rights, worker’s rights, healthcare for all, and seeing a major politician like Ocasio-Cortez in town.

Alex Billski and Cameron Blotcky, who study social work at UT Austin, said they were fans of Ocasio-Cortez and wanted to learn more about Casar’s viewpoints. Billski said she was touched that Ocasio-Cortez made it out to Austin.

Alex Billski and Cameron Blotcky said they are big fans of AOC. (Laura Figi/Austonia)

“I think it reflects a lot about how much she cares about getting the word out,” Billski said. “She's committing her energy and time to support out here as well. It’s very inspiring.”

After an energetic percussive introduction from Banda 512, Casar took the stage promising to be a “progressive champion” for marginalized communities, reproductive rights and Medicare for all.

“We know progressive change is on the horizon, not in some faraway place away from Texas,” Casar said. “Progressive change has deep roots in Texas.”

Shortly after, Casar welcomed Ocasio-Cortez, a longtime Texas organizer who raised $5 million for Winter Storm Uri in 2021, on stage. Shortly after taking the mic, Ocasio-Cortez was interrupted by a pro-Palestine protester who was escorted out.

Casar came under fire recently from some after writing that he supports "federal aid for self-defense of Israel." He also wrote that he supports the "right of the Palestinian people to live in peace, security and democracy."

“I want to be unequivocal, we are here to stand up for the rights of Palestinians and Palestine,” Ocasio-Cortez said. “Don’t get it twisted.”

Ocasio-Cortez spoke about undocumented immigrants and their inability to join unions, called out the near-total Texas abortion ban Senate Bill 8 as an “everyone issue,” and reminded the audience of the failure of the electric grid in 2021.

“Get out there and care for people and that’s how we’ll win,” Ocasio-Cortez said as she closed out her speech. “Let’s get it done—let’s elect Greg Casar to Congress.”

Before giving the stage away to Selena-tribute band Bidi Bidi Banda, Ocasio-Cortez and Casar took a group selfie with the audience.

Casar faces Eddie Rodriguez, Carla-Joy Sisco and Rebecca J. Viagran in the Democratic primary for the U.S. House seat representing Texas' 35th district. The district extends from Austin to San Antonio along the I-35 corridor. Lloyd Doggett currently holds the seat. Doggett is running this time in the newly-created 37th district, which represents much of central and west Austin.

Early voting for the Texas primary election lasts from Feb. 14-25.


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