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Photo: Thomas Shea/AFP/Getty Images
Rep. Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez and others raised $5 million for Texas. Photo: Thomas Shea/AFP/Getty Images

AOC raised $5 million for Texas, but stresses policy reform is the real solution

The New York representative flew to Texas on Friday, Feb. 19 to help in the food distribution effort.

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On Thursday, February 18, New York Rep. Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez announced on Twitter that her team had partnered with five Texas organizations to get on-the-ground relief for those in Texas that desperately need it in the aftermath of the winter storm that has rocked the state to its core. 

She posted a link for her followers to donate money that would be evenly split between the different organizations. “Let’s see how far we can go,” she wrote. 

The unprecedented winter storm left millions of  residents without power for days on end, and Texas Senator Ted Cruz, abandoned the state and fled to Cancun for a vacation. The government largely failed to take care of its people, so many have stepped up via mutual aid efforts. 

The organizations have been working non-stop to assist the homeless, hungry and senior citizens in Travis and Dallas County, and beyond. 

The donations from Ocasio-Cortez’ constituents quickly poured in and she was able to raise $2 million by the morning of Friday, Feb. 19. 

Ocasio-Cortez flew to Texas on Friday to celebrate the success of the fundraising efforts and to assist Houston Reps. Sylvia Garcia and Sheila Jackson Lee in filling boxes at the Houston Food Bank. 

“When disaster strikes, this is not just an issue for Texas, this is an issue for our entire country,” Ocasio-Cortez told reporters. “And our whole country needs to come and rally together behind the needs of Texans all across this state.” 

Within two hours of Ocasio-Cortez posting the donation link on her Twitter account, the effort had pulled in $325,000, and by Saturday afternoon, it had reached $4 million. 

Houston Public Media reported that the donations will go towards several organizations, including the Houston Food Bank, Family Eldercare, Feeding Texas and the Bridge Homeless Recovery Center. 

There were a lot of factors that contributed to the massive power failures in Texas, and Ocasio-Cortez wants to make sure that short-term and long-term policy decisions are made so that nothing as destructive will happen again. 

“It’s one thing to read about what’s going on but it’s another thing entirely to see the damage for ourselves,” she said. “The message in Washington is: let’s not let people get caught up in a bunch of rep tape. Let’s try to get this assistance out the door, as much as people need and as quickly as we can.” 

The New York congresswoman said she had never raised money for a disaster or visited a disaster site before outside of her efforts to fight the COVID-19 pandemic and some relief work she did before she was elected into office. 

"I think this is just something that we should be able to do whenever there is an area in our country that's in need,” Ocasio-Cortez said. 

On Sunday Feb. 21, Ocasio-Cortez posted her most recent fundraising update on Twitter. Overall, her efforts raised $5 million for people all across Texas. 

While she celebrated the success, she emphasized that charity cannot replace policy. 

President Joe Biden approved a major disaster declaration for Texas over the weekend, allowing the Federal Emergency Management Agency to provide more resources and assistance to the state.

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