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The latest news about Catalina’s campaign and our community.

Jackson Heights Post

Cruz Runs for Assembly, Says She’s the People’s Candidate

August 31, 2018 | by Tara Law

Jackson Heights resident and attorney Catalina Cruz, who spent her childhood in Queens as an undocumented immigrant and later achieved citizenship through the DREAM Act, is now vying for public office.

Cruz, 35, is running to represent the 39th Assembly District, made up of Jackson Heights, Elmhurst, and Corona, and is up against incumbent Aridia Espinal in the upcoming Democratic primary on Sept. 13.

Cruz says area voters heading to the polls in two weeks time will recognize that the challenges she has faced are the same as those of her potential constituents.

Her professional background, she adds, also proves that she’s able to govern. She has worked as chief of staff to Council Member Julissa Ferraras, and was also a member of the governor’s Exploited Workers Task Force.

But most crucially, Cruz believes that constituents can trust her to look out for their interests because she doesn’t take corporate donations.

“My only answer is to the people,” Cruz said. “I don’t owe anything to anyone other than the voters.”

In a meeting with the Queens Post, Cruz broke down the many challenges District 39 residents currently face, including combating the federal government’s efforts to clamp down on undocumented immigrants, searching for truly affordable housing, and dealing with an unreliable subway.

On immigration, for instance, her platform includes securing $100 million to fund five years of legal services, and providing undocumented immigrants with the ability to get a driver’s license. Her stance, she says, is a must given the federal administration’s hostile policies against immigrants.

She also backs the passage of the New York State Liberty Act, which would assure undocumented immigrants gain access to an array of legal services, and the state Dream Act, which would give undocumented New Yorkers access to state college financial aid.

Cruz says her first-hand experience with the immigration system, where she lived in fear of her status being known, and watched as her mother, a trained nurse, being forced to work multiple menial jobs, allows her to see what types of resources are most needed for many District 39 residents.

“[My mother] would tell us not to get in trouble in school, don’t call attention to yourself, no getting arrested— it was just something we always knew,” Cruz said.


Cruz Runs for Assembly, Says She’s the People’s Candidate