Carmen Yulín Cruz
|Carmen Yulín Cruz|
|Mayor of San Juan, Puerto Rico|
January 14, 2013
|Preceded by||Jorge Santini|
|At-Large Member of the 28th House of Representatives of Puerto Rico|
January 2, 2009 – January 1, 2013
February 25, 1963 |
San Juan, Puerto Rico
|Political party||Popular Democratic Party of Puerto Rico|
|Children||Marina Yulín Paul Cruz|
|Alma mater||Boston University
Carnegie Mellon University
Carmen Yulín Cruz Soto[note 1] (born February 25, 1963 in San Juan) is the current mayor of San Juan, Puerto Rico. Yulin is affiliated with the Popular Democratic Party (PPD) and is a prominent member of the soberanistas, the wing within the PPD that supports replacing the territorial clause with a document based on their vision of the ELA Soberano, which is a hybrid between the current status and a free association compact, reclaiming the sovereignty of Puerto Rico while conserving existing arrangements such as common defense, coin and American citizenship. Within the PPD, the soberanistas serve as polar opposites and direct competition to the conservadores, which support preserving the territorial status.
Early years and studies
Carmen Yulín Cruz Soto was born on February 25, 1963 to Carmen Irene Soto Molina from Lares and Pedro Cruz Vega. She has a brother named Pedro José Cruz. Cruz inherited her second name, Yulín, from her grandmother, Lutgarda Vega. She studied her elementary school at the Julio Sellés Solá Elementary School graduating with honors. In 1974, she enrolled at the University High School where she became class president since the eighth grade until her graduation in 1980. She was also president of the Student Council, and captain of the track and field team, among other things.
Cruz completed her Bachelor's degree in Political Science from Boston University, graduating Magna Cum Laude. She also completed her Master's degree from the Heinz College at Carnegie Mellon University in Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania, where she became the first student to receive the Spirit Award, now called the Barbara Jenkins Award.
After receiving her Master's degree, Cruz was recruited by Westinghouse to work on their Human Resources department. She has also worked as Human Resources Director for various companies like Colgate-Palmolive, Banco Popular, Cellular One (now AT&T), Scotiabank, and the United States Treasury Department.
First years in politics
In 1992, Cruz returned to Puerto Rico and became an adviser to then-Mayor of San Juan, Sila María Calderón. She ran for office as a Representative for District 1 at the 2000 general elections, but lost. After that, she became an adviser to then-President of the House of Representatives Carlos Vizcarrondo Irizarry. Cruz has also served as President of the Popular Women Organization (OMP) from 2005.
Cruz ran again for the House of Representatives at the 2008 elections, after winning a slot in the PPD primaries. After being elected, Cruz became the PPD Speaker in the Commission of Women Affairs, among others. Due to the high population of Dominican immigrants in the subdivisions of San Juan, most notably in Santurce, Cruz became involved with the Dominican American National Roundtable as a supporter.
Upon launching her re-election campaign in 2011, she became the first candidate from her party to collect the required endorsements, presenting more than the 4,000 total within the time frame required to complete only 2,000. At the 2012 PPD primaries, Cruz led all of the candidates to the House of Representatives in votes, followed by fellow soberanista, Luis Vega Ramos. On the original result, she had 217,162 votes counted, which surpassed the incumbent House of Representatives President, Jennifer González, with a reported 216,087 in the PNP primaries. However, following the primaries a general scrutiny by the CEE, which delayed the certification of all candidates for more than a month, including Cruz, who had renounced the re-election bid and had to submit official documentation for the new candidature. In the meantime, a project drafted by her to decree an official "Hate Crime Awareness Day" was not approved by the House of Representatives, for falling one vote short of 27 (the required minimum) despite gathering the majority of votes. During its consideration, González asked to be included a co-author, supporting the initiative, but two other PNP co-authors missed the session. When her opponent, Jorge Santini, claimed to also support the project, Cruz only noted the irony and claimed this as confirmation that her approach to multi-sector alliances was the right one.
2012: Candidate for San Juan's mayorship
Cruz Soto began hinting at her interest in running for the mayorship of her native city of San Juan in early 2011, but decided to step down when opposed by the conservadores, led by PPD president Alejandro García Padilla, who named the second in-command of that wing, representative Héctor Ferrer, to occupy the position. However, her name resurfaced following the resignation of Ferrer, who was forced to abandon the race due to a domestic abuse incident which led to a formal investigation.
Although Cruz initially denied running for mayor of the capital city, on March 26, 2012, she announced her decision to accept the party's petition and challenge incumbent mayor Jorge Santini. In the media fallout that followed, Cruz was favored over Santini throughout the social networks, Facebook and Twitter, as reported by an specialist in media marketing. Likewise, she was favored in unofficial polls held by mainstream publications El Nuevo Día (64% of 1,940 votes) and Primera Hora (120,041 vs. 34,588 or 77.3%).
On March 28, 2012, it was reported that Cruz had been promoted to the position of alternate speaker for the PPD in the House of Representatives. Two days later, San Juan's municipal committee ratified her as their new president. In contrast to the majority of the candidates for any mayorship, she has expressed not believing in the "perpetuation of office", noting that eight years should be enough to fulfill a development plan, if executed correctly. On May 4, 2012, she attended a Service Employees International Union conference and held a reunion with Jim Messina, campaign director for Barack Obama, to discuss health care and education funds, citing that "it is important to take stances in US politics, since half of all Puerto Ricans live there". During this visit, Cruz also negotiated the establishment of a Chicago-San Juan alliance with the Puerto Rican community there, led by congressman Luis Gutierrez. Carmen Yulín has also expressed full support for LGBTT and women rights.
2013–present: Mayor of San Juan
Cruz was elected as the next Mayor of San Juan on November 6, 2012, defeating three term-incumbent Mayor Jorge Santini in the city's 2012 mayoral election. She became the third woman to hold San Juan's mayoral office, after Felisa Rincón de Gautier and Sila Calderón.
Under Cruz's administration, the revitalization of the Río Piedras district became a priority. The first phase of this plan consisted of the restoration of historical buildings in the subdivision. An economic plan spearheaded by José Rivera Santana promoted incentives for housing and establishment of new businesses in Río Piedras, in an attempt to salvage the economic importance that the district once had. This was complimented with direct communication and collaboration with the local community and several institutions including the University of Puerto Rico. Among the initiatives to revitalize the municipal economy, Cruz proposed the absolute elimination of the 7% sales tax (IVU) in Río Piedras for a period of four years. This would be the first time that any zone would receive such an exemption, giving small and local businesses a strategic edge over foreign mega corporations.
Cruz married psychologist Alfredo Carrasquillo on September 25, 2010, three months after the start of their relationship. They were divorced the year after, but remarried on 2013. Cruz has a daughter, Marina Yulín Paul Cruz, from a previous marriage. 
- Carmen Yulín Cruz on CamaraDeRepresentantes.org
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