While the cosmetic differences between Cabrera — a 55-year-old Pentecostal pastor and his 29-year-old former bartender opponent — abound, he’s convinced that the primary distinction between himself and Ocasio-Cortez is his willingness to do the work of government. He rapidly details his record as a three-term city councilman: falling crime and unemployment rates in his district, coupled with increased graduation rates and high-school STEM achievement. He juxtaposes this record with the way that Ocasio-Cortez has spent her first year in office.
“The ‘o’ in Ocasio stands for ‘zero,’” he says impatiently. “She has brought home zero money, she’s advanced zero bills.” His frustration is obvious. Cabrera explains that he had no intention of running for the congressional seat. “I would’ve retired,” he says, but then he saw how Ocasio-Cortez derailed Amazon’s plan to bring its headquarters, and 25,000 jobs, to Queens.
Citing her concern for the city’s working class, Ocasio-Cortez joined fellow progressives in Albany to lobby against the tax breaks that the city used to woo the corporate giant. And, having successfully blocked the move, she bizarrely touted the money she helped the city “save” by blocking tax breaks on taxes that will no longer be paid at all.