Dem lawmaker praises Ocasio-Cortez for her 'spunk'

House Homeland Security Committee Chairman Bennie ThompsonBennie Gordon ThompsonSenior black Democrats urge party chairman to take responsibility for Iowa Booker, Merkley propose federal facial recognition moratorium Hillicon Valley: Judge approves T-Mobile, Sprint merger | FTC to review past Big Tech deals | State officials ask for more cybersecurity help | House nears draft bill on self-driving cars MORE (D-Miss.) praised progressive freshman Rep. Alexandria Ocasio-CortezAlexandria Ocasio-CortezHouse Oversight accuses Border Patrol of blocking investigation into secret Facebook group Company to provide free clothing to any female candidate The Democratic demolition derby MORE (D-N.Y.), saying he glories "in her spunk."

Thompson said on Wednesday that the Democratic Party as a whole could use more “young and talented” lawmakers like Ocasio-Cortez.

“For AOC, I glory in her spunk because we need young, talented people,” Thompson told Hill.TV’s Jamal Simmons during an interview that aired on "Rising."

Thompson added that he thinks the various skirmishes within the Democratic Party are “healthy,” citing the last thing they need is a party “where everyone agrees.”

Ocasio-Cortez became the youngest woman to be elected to Congress in November, months after she shocked the political world by upsetting 10-term incumbent Rep. Joseph Crowley (D) in New York's 14th District.

Even though Congress has been traditionally white and male, the 116th Congress made history with a record number of both women and minority lawmakers.

The number of African-American, Asian-American and Hispanic lawmakers are at new highs.

The freshman class also boasted a number of historic firsts. This includes the elections of Reps. Rashida TlaibRashida Harbi TlaibOmar endorses progressive Georgia Democrat running for House seat Will Bernie have to turn on his bros? Rashida Tlaib detained by police during protest against low wages at Detroit airport MORE (D-Mich.) and Ilhan OmarIlhan OmarOmar endorses progressive Georgia Democrat running for House seat Tlaib says she held Omar's hand during 'triggering' moments at Trump's State of the Union speech Key House Democrat says Perez must go: 'He doesn't lead on anything' MORE (D-Minn.), the first two Muslim women elected to Congress.

Thompson said the freshman class is a “melting pot of America manifesting itself" and a sign that the party is "maturing." He also emphasized that diversity is a strength, not a weakness, for the Democrats. 

“It’s the maturing and broadening, rightfully so, of the Democratic Party and a recognition that our diversity is our strength,” he told Hill.TV.

— Tess Bonn