Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez Attends Climate Change Protest During Orientation

The progressive newcomer joined activists for a sit-in after arriving in Washington for congressional orientation.

Congresswoman-elect Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez has hit the ground running in Washington.

The progressive Democratic newcomer from New York joined more than 100 environmental youth activists on Tuesday for a sit-in inside House Minority Leader Nancy Pelosi’s Capitol Hill office to encourage a deal to transition to a 100 percent renewable energy-based economy to fight climate change.

The demonstration took place the same day that new members of Congress, including Ocasio-Cortez, arrived for orientation.

“They asked me to join them, and I did,” Ocasio-Cortez tweeted of her involvement with members of the Sunrise Movement and Justice Democrats who visited several elected officials’ offices in the building. “We can embrace the energy of activism to move our party’s goals forward.”

Pelosi’s office, in a statement shared by Ocasio-Cortez on Twitter, expressed support for the activists and said that she has recommended reinstating the Select Committee on Climate Change, a special climate change committee that was dissolved by Republicans in 2011.

“House Democrats ran on and won on our bold campaign for a $1 trillion investment in our infrastructure that will make our communities more resilient to the climate crisis, while creating 16 million new good-paying jobs across the country,” Pelosi’s statement read. “We welcome the presence of these activists, and we strongly urge the Capitol Police to allow them to continue to organize and participate in our democracy.”

Members of the Sunrise Movement, responding to Pelosi’s support in their own statement on Twitter, said they welcomed her endorsement but added that “words aren’t enough.” The group urged her to “step aside” if she is unable to mandate such a plan. 

“Nancy Pelosi is bringing a squirt gun to a wildfire,” the group tweeted.

Ocasio-Cortez added that she supports Pelosi reinstating the Select Committee and highlighted the activists’ requests that the committee draft a Green New Deal calling for 100 percent renewable energy and a commitment from the committee’s appointed members that they won’t accept funding from the fossil fuel industry.

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