Democratic candidate Catalina Cruz has become the first Dreamer ever elected to the New York state Assembly after beating incumbent Ari Espinal and Reform Party candidate Bobby Kalotee in Tuesday’s Midterm elections.
With the victory in hand, Cruz will represent the 39th Assembly District — consisting of Jackson Heights, Elmhurst and Corona — in Albany.
Background / Education:
In 2001, Cruz graduated from John Bowne High School in Flushing, Queens. In 2005, Cruz received a bachelor’s degree with honors in forensic psychology from the John Jay College of Criminal Justice. In 2009, Cruz received a J.D. from the City University of New York School of Law.
After law school Cruz worked as a Volunteer Assistant Attorney General for the New York State Attorney General, Andrew Cuomo, where her case work included focusing on fraud related to immigration services and working on prosecution efforts. From 2009 to 2012, Cruz was counsel at the Goddard Riverside SRO Law Project at the Goddard Riverside Community Center on the Upper West Side of Manhattan. From 2012 to 2014, Cruz was counsel to the Division of Immigrant Policies and Affairs at the New York State Department of Labor.
In 2014, Cruz was counsel to the Immigration Committee for the New York City Council, where she worked to improve coverage of issue related to domestic worker trafficking. She worked on the Unaccompanied Minors Initiative and the IDNYC program. She also oversaw the Key to the City program. She was in this position until 2015. From 2015 to 2017, Cruz was the Director of the Office of the New York State Governor, Andrew Cuomo. During this time she was the Special Assistant for Labor & Workforce.
She was also the Director of the Joint Task Force on Worker Exploitation and Employee Misclassification, also known as the Exploited Workers Task Force, a working as assistant counsel in Cuomo’s taskforce. In 2017, Cruz became Chief of Staff for New York City Council Member, Julissa Ferreras-Copeland until Ferreras-Copeland made the decision not to seek re-election.