Carmen Yulín Cruz

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Carmen Yulín Cruz
Carmenyulin.jpg
Mayor of San Juan
Assumed office
January 14, 2013
Preceded by Jorge Santini
Member of the Puerto Rico House of Representatives
At-large
In office
January 2, 2009 – January 1, 2013
Personal details
Born Carmen Yulín Cruz Soto
(1963-02-25) February 25, 1963 (age 54)
San Juan, Puerto Rico, U.S.
Political party Popular Democratic
Other political
affiliations
Democratic
Spouse(s) Alfredo Carrasquillo
Children 1
Education Boston University (BA)
Carnegie Mellon University (MS)

Carmen Yulín Cruz Soto (born February 25, 1963) is a Puerto Rican politician who is the current mayor of San Juan, Puerto Rico. Cruz is affiliated with the Popular Democratic Party (PPD). She served as a member of the Puerto Rico House of Representatives from 2009 to 2013, as mayor since 2013 and is expected to run for governor in 2020.

Early years and studies[edit]

Carmen Yulín Cruz Soto was born on February 25, 1963, in San Juan to Carmen Irene Soto Molina from Lares and Pedro Cruz Vega.[1] She has a brother named Pedro José Cruz. Cruz inherited the second part of her given name, Yulín, from her grandmother, Lutgarda Vega.[1][2] She graduated with honors from the Julio Sellés Solá Elementary School. At University High School, where she graduated in 1980, Cruz was class president from eighth grade through her senior year, Student Council president, and captain of the track and field team.[citation needed]

Cruz earned her Bachelor of Arts in political science from Boston University, graduating Magna Cum Laude. She also completed her Master of Science in public management and policy from the Heinz College at Carnegie Mellon University, where she became the first student to receive the Spirit Award (now called the Barbara Jenkins Award),[3] given to a graduating student for service and contributions to the college and region.[4]

Professional career[edit]

After receiving her master's degree, Cruz was recruited by Westinghouse to work in its human resources department. She also has worked as a human resources director for Colgate-Palmolive, Banco Popular, Cellular One (now AT&T), Scotiabank, and the United States Treasury Department.[citation needed]

Political career[edit]

First years in politics[edit]

In 1992, Cruz returned to Puerto Rico and became an adviser to San Juan mayor Sila María Calderón. She ran for District 1 representative in the 2000 general elections, but lost.[5] She then became an adviser to Carlos Vizcarrondo Irizarry, president of the House of Representatives .[citation needed] Cruz has also served as president of the Popular Women Organization (OMP) beginning in 2005.[citation needed]

2009–13: Representative[edit]

Cruz ran again for the Puerto Rico House of Representatives at the 2008 elections, after winning a slot in the PPD primaries.[6][7] After being elected, Cruz became the PPD Speaker in the Commission of Women Affairs. 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.[8]

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.[9] 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.[10] 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.[11] 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.[citation needed] In the meantime, a bill 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 as a co-author, supporting the initiative, but two other PNP co-authors missed the session. When her opponent Jorge Santini claimed to support the bill too, Cruz only noted the irony and claimed this as confirmation that her approach to multi-sector alliances was the right one.[citation needed]

2012: Candidate for San Juan's mayorship[edit]

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,[12] 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.[13]

Cruz' campaign headquarters two days before the 2012 elections

Although Cruz initially denied that she was running for mayor of San Juan, on March 26, 2012, she announced her decision to accept the party's petition and challenge incumbent mayor Jorge Santini.[14][15] In the media fallout that followed, Cruz was favored over Santini throughout the social networks, Facebook and Twitter, as reported by a specialist in media marketing.[16] 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%).[17][18]

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.[19] Two days later, San Juan's municipal committee ratified her as their new president.[20] 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.[21] On May 4, 2012, she attended a Service Employees International Union conference and held a meeting 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".[22] 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's rights.[23]

2013–present: Mayor of San Juan[edit]

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.

Cruz's administration continues prior mayor Jorge Santini's plans for the revitalization of the Río Piedras district.[24] The first phase of this plan consisted of the restoration of historical buildings in the subdivision.[24] 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.[24] This was complemented with direct communication and collaboration with the local community and several institutions, including the University of Puerto Rico.[24] 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.[25] 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.[25]

Hurricane Maria[edit]

In September 2017, in the aftermath of Hurricane Maria, Cruz made frequent appearances on national and international television, criticizing Federal aid efforts for not getting the aid shipments into the hands of the people who need them, accusing Donald Trump and his administration of "killing us with inefficiency", and giving pleas for help in numerous media interviews.[26][27]

"We are dying here", Cruz said in a September 29 press conference. "And I cannot fathom the thought that the greatest nation in the world cannot figure out logistics for a small island of 100 miles by 35 miles long... People are drinking off a creek. So I am done being polite. I am done being politically correct. I am mad as hell... So I am asking the members of the press, to send a mayday call all over the world. We are dying here... And if it doesn't stop, and if we don't get the food and the water into people's hands, what we are going to see is something close to a genocide".[28]

Responding to Cruz's statement, FEMA director Brock Long said that unity of command was the main thing needed for the relief effort to be successful, and suggested the mayor needed to go to the joint field office and "get plugged in".[29][30] Angel Perez Otero, mayor of Guaynabo, a neighboring city to San Juan, stated that his experience with FEMA has been very good and criticized Cruz for not participating in FEMA and HUD meetings.[31]

Future Offices[edit]

Cruz is widely expected to run for governor of Puerto Rico in 2020.[32][33]

Personal life[edit]

Cruz married psychologist Alfredo Carrasquillo on September 25, 2010, three months after their relationship started. They divorced a year later, but remarried in 2013.[34] Cruz has a daughter, Marina Yulín Paul Cruz, from a previous marriage.[35][36]

See also[edit]

References[edit]

  1. ^ a b Bauzá, Nydia (May 7, 2012). "Con "las botas puestas" Carmen Yulín Cruz". Primera Hora (in Spanish). 
  2. ^ Santiago, Amary (November 7, 2012). "Carmen Yulín le sigue los pasos a Doña Fela y a Sila María Calderón". El Nuevo Día (in Spanish). 
  3. ^ "Todos los Representantes: Hon. Carmen Y. Cruz Soto" (in Spanish). Cámara de Representantes de Puerto Rico. Archived from the original on January 11, 2012. Retrieved November 8, 2012. 
  4. ^ "Diploma Ceremony Awards: Barbara Jenkins Award". Carnegie Mellon University Heinz College. Retrieved September 30, 2017. 
  5. ^ "Elecciones Generales 2000: Representantes". CEEPUR. Archived from the original on August 9, 2004. 
  6. ^ "Primarias 2008: Representantes por Acumulación". CEEPUR. Archived from the original on May 3, 2012. 
  7. ^ "Elecciones Generales 2008". CEEPUR. Archived from the original on April 20, 2014. 
  8. ^ "DANR Successfully Concludes Leadership Summit in Puerto Rico" (in Spanish). Dominican American National Roundtable. August 22, 2011. Archived from the original on April 20, 2014. Retrieved April 20, 2014. 
  9. ^ "Carmen Yulín fue la primera en completar endosos políticos". Primera Hora (in Spanish). November 14, 2011. Archived from the original on April 20, 2014. 
  10. ^ Villa, Javier (March 19, 2012). "Soberanistas dan golpe moral a liderato de la pava con triunfo en primarias populares" (in Spanish). Noti Uno 630. Archived from the original on April 20, 2014. 
  11. ^ "Carmen Yulín con más votos que González aunque dice no mira la presidencia de la Cámara" (in Spanish). Telemundo Puerto Rico. March 19, 2012. Archived from the original on April 20, 2014. Retrieved October 7, 2013. 
  12. ^ Keila López Alicea (April 5, 2012). "Política". Para Carmen Yulín la segunda será la vencida. Puerto Rico: El Nuevo Día. p. 12. Hace apenas un año, Yulín llegó a considerar la candidatura, pero decidió aspirar a otro término luego de recibir oposición por parte del liderato conservador del PPD, esto como consecuencia de sus posturas soberanistas. 
  13. ^ Rosario, Frances (March 21, 2012). "Carmen Yulín asegura que no aspirará a San Juan". El Nuevo Día. Archived from the original on March 6, 2014. 
  14. ^ Rodríguez, Israel (March 27, 2012). "El PPD le apuesta a Carmen Yulin para la alcaldia de San Juan". El Nuevo Día. Archived from the original on March 6, 2014. 
  15. ^ Nydia Bauzá (March 26, 2012). "Carmen Yulín será candidata por la alcaldía de San Juan" (in Spanish). Primera Hora. Archived from the original on February 26, 2014. Retrieved March 29, 2012. 
  16. ^ Ely Acevedo Denis (March 27, 2012). "Se activa en Twitter la contienda por San Juan" (in Spanish). NotiCel.com. Archived from the original on May 1, 2012. Retrieved March 29, 2012. 
  17. ^ "Gana Carmen Yulín en las redes sociales" (in Spanish). El Nuevo Día. March 26, 2012. Archived from the original on March 28, 2012. Retrieved March 29, 2012. 
  18. ^ "Encuesta: ¿A quién prefieres para alcalde de San Juan?" (in Spanish). Primera Hora. March 26, 2012. Archived from the original on August 14, 2011. Retrieved March 29, 2012. 
  19. ^ Daniel Rivera Vargas (March 28, 2012). "Carmen Yulín Cruz y Luis Raúl Torres serán los portavoces del PPD en la Cámara" (in Spanish). El Nuevo Día. Archived from the original on April 20, 2014. Retrieved March 29, 2012. 
  20. ^ Yanira Hernández Cabiya (March 31, 2012). "Asume la presidencia del PPD en la ciudad capital" (in Spanish). El Nuevo Día. Archived from the original on April 1, 2012. Retrieved March 31, 2012. 
  21. ^ Marvin Fonseca (April 28, 2012). "Carmen Yulín Cruz Soto espera estar en la Alcaldía de San Juan solo ocho años" (in Spanish). El Nuevo Día. Archived from the original on May 1, 2012. Retrieved April 30, 2012. 
  22. ^ "Carmen Yulín se integra a campaña de Obama por fondos Medicaid y Becas Pell" (in Spanish). Primera Hora. May 4, 2012. Archived from the original on April 20, 2014. Retrieved May 5, 2012. 
  23. ^ "Agradece apoyo de Carmen Yulín a reclamos de comunidad LGBTT en San Juan" (in Spanish). Telemundo Puerto Rico. July 17, 2012. Archived from the original on April 20, 2014. Retrieved October 7, 2013. 
  24. ^ a b c d Rosangely Piñero (September 15, 2013). "Mejoras al casco urbano de Río Piedras" (in Spanish). El Nuevo Día. Archived from the original on April 20, 2014. Retrieved October 7, 2013. 
  25. ^ a b Limarys Suárez Torres (October 7, 2013). "Carmen Yulín quiere una zona libre del IVU" (in Spanish). El Nuevo Día. Archived from the original on October 10, 2013. Retrieved October 7, 2013. 
  26. ^ "Puerto Rico mayor: Trump 'killing us with inefficiency'". Al Jazeera Media Network. Al Jazeera. Retrieved 1 October 2017. 
  27. ^ "Thousands of aid containers stuck in Puerto Rico port". NBC-12 news. September 28, 2017. Retrieved September 30, 2017. 
  28. ^ Choi, David (September 29, 2017). "'WE ARE DYING': Puerto Rico mayor says the island is 'inching close to a genocide'". Business Insider. Retrieved September 30, 2017. 
  29. ^ Colvin, Jill (September 30, 2017). "Trump snaps at San Juan mayor on Twitter after she criticizes federal response to Maria". Chicago Tribune. Retrieved September 30, 2017. 
  30. ^ "Brock Long defends federal response to Hurricane Maria". Fox News. September 30, 2017. Retrieved September 30, 2017. 
  31. ^ Dedard, Paul (September 30, 2017). "Neighboring mayor praises Trump, says San Juan mayor playing 'politics,' AWOL at meetings". The Washington Examiner. Retrieved September 30, 2017. 
  32. ^ https://www.washingtonpost.com/news/post-nation/wp/2017/09/30/trump-called-san-juans-mayor-a-weak-leader-heres-what-her-leadership-looks-like/
  33. ^ https://www.newyorker.com/news/news-desk/the-mayor-of-san-juan-on-trumps-big-mouth-and-what-puerto-rico-needs
  34. ^ Rodríguez, Israel (April 13, 2013). "Carmen Yulín Cruz se vuelve a casar". El Nuevo Día (in Spanish). Archived from the original on April 15, 2013. 
  35. ^ Rosario, Frances (October 7, 2010). "Carmen Yulín Cruz se casó en secreto" (in Spanish). El Nuevo Día. Archived from the original on October 10, 2010. 
  36. ^ Muñiz Gracia, Alba Y. (May 9, 2010). "Orgullosas mamá-gallina". El Nuevo Día. Archived from the original on May 12, 2010. Retrieved April 20, 2014. 

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