There’s at least one Oak Park connection to the improbable and meteoric rise of Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez, the 28-year-old Democratic Socialist who upset powerful Congressman Joe Crowley in the Democratic primary in New York’s 14th congressional district. 

Some are calling Ocasio-Cortez inspirational, some even call her dangerous, but Anthony Clark — the OPRF High School teacher, community activist and former congressional candidate — calls her “homie.” 

“Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez is truly inspiring,” Clark said in a Facebook post. “I now believe that we can have politicians who truly represent and fight for the people they serve.”

Both Clark and Ocasio-Cortez were candidates who ran with Brand New Congress and Justice Democrats, two organizations that were outgrowths of the presidential campaign of U.S. Sen. Bernie Sanders of Vermont. 

Since Ocasio-Cortez’s successful campaign, Clark has introduced her at political rallies. He even made a quick appearance on Fox News (you can get a glimpse of him as he’s handing the microphone off to Ocasio-Cortez). 

Clark, who lost a March 20 Democratic primary race against Congressman Danny K. Davis (7th), did well for a first-time candidate running against a powerful incumbent. Clark garnered 26 percent of the total vote, but took 40 percent of the suburban vote. 

 He’s vowed to run for the position again. Next time, Ocasio-Cortez may be handing the mic off to him. 

Michael Romain

Join the discussion on social media!