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Ocasio-Cortez makes endorsement for Queens district attorney

Rep. Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez (D-N.Y.) is throwing her support behind progressive Tiffany Cabán in a hotly-contested primary for Queens district attorney. 

"Our criminal justice system needs to change," Ocasio-Cortez said in a statement, according to The New York Times. "New Yorkers deserve a seat at the table, and a champion who will fight to realign our priorities toward equal treatment under the law. If Tiffany Cabán wins, things are going to change."

The endorsement from the outspoken freshman lawmaker will likely raise Cabán's profile ahead of the a June 25 primary election that consists of seven candidates. The candidates are vying to succeed longtime district attorney Richard Brown, who died from complications related to Parkinson's disease on May 4. 

Ocasio-Cortez, whose district includes the eastern part of The Bronx and portions of north-central Queens, is also expected to announce her endorsement in an email to supporters later this week. The email will ask individuals to donate to the candidate. 

"Instead of criminalizing poverty, we're going to dedicate resources toward prosecuting abusive landlords," Ocasio-Cortez said. "Instead of targeting people who use marijuana, we can go after the drug companies that took advantage of working-class folks for profit."

She added that  "we can end broken-windows policing and rebuild the relationship between our communities, and the justice system that's supposed to work for us. We can end cash bail, so that the rich and poor are held equal in the eyes of the law."

Cabán is a former public defender who is in favor of closing the Rikers Island prison and of eliminating cash bail for all crimes, The Times noted. Cabán is not a supporter of the calls to create new borough based-jails, and is in favor of decriminalizing prostitution.

The 31-year-old is just the second person to receive an endorsement from Ocasio-Cortez since she was sworn into office in January. Ocasio-Cortez gave an endorsement to Raul Fernandez, a candidate for Brookline Select Board in Massachusetts earlier this month. 

In addition to Ocasio-Cortez, Cabán has received endorsements from the Democratic Socialists of America, VOCAL-NY, Real Justice PAC and the Working Families Party, The Times noted. 

"We are proud of all the endorsements we have gotten, but this is a big deal,"  Cabán told The Times when speaking about Ocasio-Cortez's endorsement. 

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