Greg Casar hosts Austin rally for congressional run, guest appearance from Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez

Hope Unger, News Reporter

This Sunday, U.S. Rep. Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez made a special appearance at congressional candidate Greg Casar’s downtown rally, which encouraged people to early vote Monday.

Last year, Casar announced that he was running for Congress in Texas’ 35th Congressional District after spending seven years as a member of the Austin City Council overseeing the 4th District. Casar’s campaign focuses on building an inclusive democracy, economic justice for working families and fixing the Texas power grid, according to his campaign site

“Working Texans deserve a leader who will fight and deliver for Medicare for all, reproductive rights, good union jobs and a better Texas,” Casar said. “I’m that person. We are those people.”

At the rally, Ocasio-Cortez said she commends Casar for advocating for reproductive rights, better wages and affordable housing. Ocasio-Cortez said Casar nearly doubled the wages for Austin’s lowest-paid employees during his time on the Austin City Council. 

Casar’s family immigrated to Texas from Mexico, and his rally, “Rally for Our Rights: The Power of Latino Organizing,” encouraged greater voter turnout from the Latinx community.

“Our ancestors did too much for us to give up now,” Ocasio-Cortez said. “Black Americans died for freedom and for the right to vote. Women suffered for suffrage. Queer people dealt with … threats to their lives. Immigrants had their families cross treacherous lands, not for us to give up now, but for us to make things right. That’s what we’re here to do, Austin.”

A protest for Palestinian liberation started outside the building during the rally. People carried signs reading, “From Texas to Palestine, Fight U.S. Imperialism,” “Progressive Politicians = Opportunists Scum” and “Boycott Election 2022.”

“I want to be unequivocal that we are here to stand up for the rights of Palestinians,” Ocasio-Cortez said.

Casar said he believes people have lost hope in democracy due to the “empty promises of politicians.”

“We are united today with a belief that cannot be shaken. That this is our state. This is our home,” Casar said. “These are our families and we are going to organize like hell until this democracy delivers for each and every one of us.”

Charles Ozuna, a Plan II and government freshman, attended the rally to support Casar. Ozuna said when he first became interested in politics, he looked up to Casar.

“His work with labor movements specifically, is something that I’ve always really wanted to work with,” Ozuna said. “Helping with immigrant families and labor movements and helping workers have an actual say at the table is something I aspire (to) so much.”