In 2012, Jose Cruz became the first member of his family to graduate from college. Seven years later, he is now looking to become one of the few acting Latin-American members of the Oklahoma State House of Representatives.
Cruz, a member of Oklahoma Christian University’s 2012 graduating class, grew up under the instruction and supervision of a working class family and is now a voice and advocate of south Oklahoma City.
Cruz’s father, a construction worker, and his mother, an educator, instilled a desire in Cruz to create a brighter future. Spending a few years working different jobs, Cruz found his passion helping others through the legal process at a local law firm. He later attended the Oklahoma City University School of Law, passing the Oklahoma bar exam in July of 2019.
During his time in law school, Cruz served as the community outreach specialist under Congresswoman Kendra Horn, served as a board member for Variety Care and acted as the Oklahoma board president for the League of United Latin American Citizens.
Cruz has announced he will campaign for a chair in the Oklahoma State House and has documented his political priorities addressing the issues online and at local rallies. He has stressed the need for a better healthcare system and its importance in family development.
“Growing up, [we] attended a community health center where we received many services and where my mother was encouraged and supported to continue her education,” Cruz said. “As a board member for Variety Care, I understand how community health centers work and why they are so important in ensuring Oklahomans stay healthy. Accessible and affordable health care is key to having a successful and happy family.”
Cruz has also highlighted the value of protecting children from abusive and toxic environments, emphasizing his plans to bolster protective agencies.
“Children in Oklahoma face abuse every day,” Cruz said. “I want to make sure that state agencies and workers receive the support and training necessary to spot and end abuse. Through legal work, I have seen heart-wrenching and inhumane treatment of children. I will work to put a stop to abuse and the root causes of it.”
Cruz continued to state he will work to attack low-base salaries in order to combat the high standards of living found within Oklahoma’s urban areas.
“Unfortunately, wages are not keeping up with the increases in the costs of living,” Cruz said. “Raising a family has become more difficult, and putting money into a rainy day fund is near impossible. I will protect working families and support better-paying jobs that allow South Oklahoma City residents to put food on the table, raise their children and get ahead.”
Junior Julian Ly said he is appreciative of Cruz’s political concerns and his work depicts a narrative many should strive to replicate.
“I think that [Cruz’s] story is admirable,” Ly said. “His policies are fundamental in creating a better Oklahoma. Being a first generation college graduate is a milestone within itself but to be running for state office is a testament to his work ethic.”