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Catalina Cruz, Once Undocumented, to Represent Jackson Heights in Assembly

(Photo: Cruz for New York)

Nov. 7, 2018 By Meghan Sackman

Catalina Cruz, who spent her childhood as an undocumented immigrant, was elected to the State Assembly last night to represent the 39th District.

Cruz, a Jackson Heights resident and attorney, pulled in 87 percent of the vote and will represent the assembly district that covers Jackson Heights, Elmhurst and Corona.

She beat the incumbent Ari Espinal, who was on the ballot under the Working Families and Women’s Equality lines, and Reform Party Candidate Bobby Kalotee.

Cruz, 35, was always going to win having won the Democratic primary in September– when she comfortably beat Espinal by 10 percentage points. She generated 12,820 votes yesterday to Espinal’s 1,525.

Cruz comes to the position with a great deal of political experience having worked as chief of staff to former Council Member Julissa Ferraras. She was also a member of the governor’s Exploited Workers Task Force.

However, last night’s win was a big step for a woman who immigrated from Colombia with her mother and three siblings when she was 9 years old. She lived in the shadows for the next 10 years until she won a green card. She ultimately became a citizen in 2009.

Cruz vows to protect immigrants, fight for a single payer health care system, help maintain affordable housing, and improve the decaying subway system.

“I feel so grateful that my town believed in the vision we have,” she told Telemundo 47 last night. “I didn’t do this for me. I did it for the thousands of young people and mothers that have to endure what my mother endured.They deserve government officials that represents their community, that is elected by the community, and that won’t forget about them once they are elected.”

Cruz voting yesterday (Facebook)

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Congratulations Ms.Cruz! So happy to see you representing our district! Hard work and perseverance does pay off and you deserve all of this!


I got a great idea that would end all of this divisive bickering between Democrats and Republicans. Since Republicans will probably never win a seat in NYC districts, Mayor, Senate etc….. ( face it it’s just a waste of a vote) and Democrats are the party that most people in NYC prefer. Let’s just have the Democratic party rule NYC in exchange the Republican will control all the suburbs and rural areas of the state. We can do this on a national level. Los Angeles and all the major cities will forever be a Democrat one party city and the outskirts Republican. That way everybody will be happy. What do you guys think?


Can the people down voting explain? It would be nice to hear why you guys don’t want people that can’t get along anymore to go their separate ways? Should people be unhappy and stuck in a marriage? Shoud’nt the same apply to states ?


Single payer which the US can’t afford. Even VT dropped the single payer idea when they found out the cost.

Tommy O

Sean- But Canada and Australia can afford. The US still pays exponentially more for healthcare than these 2 countries. I think we can afford it since our system is already costing us more than Canada and Australia’s single payer systems.


@sean- but we can afford to continue to pay more for healthcare with our current system. Your post makes no sense.


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