Rep. Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez (D-N.Y.) is the least accessible representative in New York City, with her Washington, D.C., and her New York City offices utilizing filtering systems that prevent callers from speaking to an actual person, according to the New York Post.
The Post called the offices of each of the 13 lawmakers representing New York City, and all the offices of each of those lawmakers had a person answering the phone — except Ocasio-Cortez's offices. A congressional Democratic aide accused Ocasio-Cortez of not caring about her constituents.
"She has no plans to serve the people. That's why she has no constituent services operation," the aide told The Post. "If you're a grandma in Queens who needs help with her Medicare and you call AOC's 'district office' you get a recording that tells you to visit the website instead. What kind of elitist nonsense is that? Shameful, it's all shameful."
Calls to the Washington, D.C., office are filtered. Only callers with D.C. or New York City area codes have a chance at getting through; other callers are given an automated message that directs them to Ocasio-Cortez's website.
Calls to her district office in Jackson Heights give constituents the option to press 2, and directs other callers to visit the website or send an email. Pressing 2 does not route the call to an aide or receptionist, however, it simply allows the caller to leave a message.
What do AOC's people say about this?
Ocasio-Cortez spokesman Corbin Trent pointed to call volume as the reason for the filters.
"With the filter on, only D.C. and New York phone numbers can get through," Trent told the Post. "When you are getting the volume of incoming that we get, the most important thing is to try to filter out some of the volume to get the people you are actually supposed to be here to work for."
However, other high-profile Democrats, such as House Speaker Nancy Pelosi (D-Calif.), House Judiciary Committee Chairman Jerry Nadler (D-N.Y.), Reps. Rashida Tlaib (D-Mich.) and Ilhan Omar (D-Minn.), have staff answering the phones.
Ocasio-Cortez has fewer staff members than any other member of the New York City delegation. House members can hire up to 18 full-time and four part-time workers. Ocasio-Cortez currently employs 13 staff members and two unpaid interns.
Will this hurt her reelection?
Ocasio-Cortez won her 2018 primary election against former Rep. Joe Crowley, a powerful Democrat and heavy favorite, partially by consistently attacking him for worrying too much about national politics while neglecting the needs of the residents of The Bronx and Queens.
A Siena College Research Institute poll from April shows that 52 percent of District 14 voters surveyed view her favorably, and 61 percent of Democrats surveyed would vote for her in 2020. She doesn't yet have a Democratic primary challenger in what is a dark blue district.