Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez Names Chief of Staff
Congresswoman-elect Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez’s (D-NY) has named Saikat Chakrabarti as her Chief of Staff. The Harvard College graduate served as Ocasio-Cortez's Campaign Chair and Campaign Manager. Before joining Ocasio-Cortez’s campaign, Chakrabarti served as Co-Founder and Executive Director of Justice Democrats -- a PAC that doesn’t accept corporate donations. They joined with Brand New Congress, a PAC also co-founded by Chakrabarti, and set out to create a left-wing populist movement starting with the 2018 midterms. Together, they aimed to recruit 400 candidates by asking people to nominate individuals from their own communities -- party affiliation didn’t matter; candidates had to want health care for all, a living wage, and to want money not to rule all in politics. Brand New Congress ended up with 12,000 applications. Just 12 of those applicants turned into candidates, and only one won a seat in Congress: Ocasio-Cortez. Chakrabarti told Rolling Stone that caring too much about a win ratio is part of the reason he believes the Democratic Party would never have recruited Ocasio-Cortez. “We’re OK losing 90 percent of our races, if it means that the ones we win cause the kind of shift in thinking about what’s possible — like Alexandria’s race honestly did,” Chakrabarti says. “So that’s a different way of measuring success.” He previously served as Director for Organizing Technology for the Bernie Sanders' presidential campaign. Chakrabarti is a former Silicon Valley pro; he was a developer and co-founder of Mockingbird, an online tool for wireframing websites and web applications, and worked at technology firm Stripe, an online payment service. His hire comes as news surfaced that Ocasio-Cortez is aiming to secure a seat on the powerful Energy and Commerce Committee. More about Chakrabarti here.