Bronx Democratic Councilman Fernando Cabrera threw his hat in the ring Thursday to challenge democratic socialist Rep. Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez in the Democratic primary, vowing to run as the pro-Amazon, pro-capitalist candidate.
“AOC has brought nothing to the district — not one job. She cost the city 25,000 jobs by opposing the Amazon headquarters and $27 billion in revenues,” Cabrera told The Post.
“Why not have Amazon high schools to prepare our kids for jobs?!”
Amazon in February abandoned its proposed campus in Long Island City amid fierce opposition from AOC and other left-wing activists, labor leaders and lawmakers, who complained Gov. Andrew Cuomo and Mayor Bill de Blasio agreed to give the e-tail giant $3 billion in taxpayer subsidies to locate there.
Cabrera said he will enthusiastically campaign as a Democrat who embraces capitalism, not socialism.
“We have not seen a country where socialism has proven to work. People are not dying to move to socialist countries,” he said.
“AOC wants to put a system in place that has not worked in Venezuela and Cuba.”
Cabrera said he opposes the Medicare for All/government-run health care backed by AOC and instead prefers White House candidate and former Vice President Joe Biden’s plan to provide choice to consumers.
He also called AOC’s Green New Deal a “pie in the sky” plan that would boost taxes on the working class.
Cabrera’s 14th council district in the western Bronx does not overlap with AOC’s 14th Congressional District that takes in the eastern Bronx and portions of western Queens. He said he would move into the district if he wins.
Like controversial fellow Councilman Rev. Ruben Diaz Jr., Cabrera is a Pentecostal minister with a strong following among faith-based Hispanic voters.
Cabrera, 55, personally opposes abortion and gay marriage but says they are the law of the land and won’t be burning issues in the primary.
Cabrera is the senior pastor of New Life Outreach International in the Kingsbridge area of the Bronx. He is the former graduate program director for the mental health and counseling program at Mercy College.
Born in the Bronx to a Puerto Rican mother and a Dominican father, Cabrera and his wife, Elvia, have two children and five grandchildren.
“My entire life has been dedicated to the service of our community and our merciful God. … I know many will dismiss this effort as a quixotic mission taking on our media-star congresswoman. To them, I say, while it is a mission, there is nothing quixotic or naïve about it,” he said in a statement.
He said the 14th CD is more moderate than progressive and argued he could rouse more pocketbook-minded homeowners from Astoria and College Point in Queens and Throggs Neck in the Bronx to vote for him. They didn’t come out in big enough numbers for veteran ex-Congressman Joe Crowley, whom AOC defeated in 2018.
Cabrera, who has close ties to the Bronx Democratic leadership, predicted the party would not endorse AOC because her allies with the left-wing Justice Democrats group are running primaries against other veteran Bronx incumbent lawmakers.
“AOC is literally dividing the Bronx Democratic Party,” he said. “She is not a team player.”
Still, Cabrera has twice lost in primaries for the state Senate to the more liberal incumbent Gustavo Rivera.
Most recently Cabrera has garnered attention in the City Council for pushing legislation to ban menthol cigarettes.