Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez shared a personal story about her father’s death from cancer during a hearing on Friday about prescription drug prices.
‘When I was 16 years old my father was diagnosed with a rare form of lung cancer,’ the congresswoman from New York said during a hearing of the House Oversight Committee on Capitol Hill on Friday.
‘He was in experimental trials in order to save his life. My family almost lost our home…in order to try to keep him alive and just try to keep our family together.’
Ocasio-Cortez said she worked as a bartender in a restaurant in order to support her family after her father, Sergio Ocasio-Roman, died from a rare form of lung cancer.
House Rep. Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez is seen above on Friday during a hearing of the House Oversight Committee
Ocasio-Cortez is seen as an infant with her father Sergio Ocasio-Roman, an architect and the CEO of his own company. He died of lung cancer in 2008
Ocasio-Cortez is seen as a young girl with her father. The family moved to Westchester County when she was five, and she went on to attend Yorktown High School
Ocasio-Cortez was born in 1989 to parents Sergio Ocasio-Roman, who was born in New York City, and mother Blanca Ocasio-Cortez, a native of Puerto Rico.
Her father, who tragically died from lung cancer in 2008, was an architect and the CEO of Kirschenbaum & Ocasio-Roman Architects, PC, which focused on remodeling and renovations.
Ocasio-Cortez’s campaign biography describes her father as ‘a small business owner’.
‘She grew up in a working-class household where her mother cleaned homes and everyone pitched in on the family business,’ the bio continues.
Initially, the young family lived in Parkchester, a planned community of 171 mid-rise brick buildings in the Bronx.
When she was about five, Ocasio-Cortez’s family moved to a quaint three-bedroom home in Yorktown Heights, New York.
The home, a single-story with a finished basement, most recently sold for $355,000 in 2016.
Ocasio-Cortez’s family moved to this home in Yorktown Heights, New York when she was five and lived there until she left to go to college at Boston University
Ocasio-Cortez is a member of the House Oversight Committee, which is chaired by Rep. Elijah Cummings (above) of Maryland. The committee has been investigating the prices of prescription drugs since January
The median annual income in the area is $116,741, compared to the median annual income of $48,315 in Parkchester.
Ocasio-Cortez on Friday was discussing the price of insulin with a witness, Sa’ra Skipper, a woman from Indianapolis who testified before the committee on Friday.
Skipper told the panel that even though she has health insurance, it costs her $1,000 a month.
She said that she and her sister both have Type 1 Diabetes.
Things began to ‘spiral out of control’ when her mother lost her job and her coverage, she said in comments reported by WJZ-TV.
‘I was really scared,’ Skipper told the committee.
‘A few months ago after she lost her job, I was suicidal because I didn’t want to continue to struggle.
‘I didn’t know how my sister and I were going to make it.’
Ocasio-Cortez is a member of the House Oversight Committee, which is chaired by Rep. Elijah Cummings of Maryland.
The committee has been investigating the prices of prescription drugs since January.
Cummings has been in the news recently thanks to President Trump’s Twitter attacks denigrating his district.
Cummings represents Maryland’s seventh congressional district, which encompasses half of the city of Baltimore.
Trump has been accused of racism after referring to Baltimore as a ‘rodent infested mess.’