Queens Assemblywoman Catalina Cruz nominated for EMILYs List Rising Star Award

April 19, 2021

New York Daily News: Queens Assemblywoman Catalina Cruz nominated for EMILY's List Rising Star Award 

By: Denis Slattery

Assemblywoman Catalina Cruz is among six finalists who have been nominated by EMILYs List for a national award recognizing women lawmakers serving at the state level.

Cruz, a Democrat who represents parts of Jackson Heights in Queens, is up for the political action committee’s Gabrielle Giffords Rising Star Award.

The honor is named for the former congresswoman and honors women serving in state or local office who demonstrate the “sort of commitment to community, dedication to women and families, and determination and civility that have been the highlights of Giffords’ career, in and out of office.”

Emily Cain, the executive director of EMILYs List, which is focused on helping elect to office Democratic women in favor of abortion rights, praised Cruz for her work in the Assembly.

“Assemblywoman Catalina Cruz has dedicated her career to providing a voice to those who are too often silenced,” Cain said. “The first DREAMer to be elected to the New York State Assembly, Catalina has helped pass key legislation to improve workers’ rights, expand sexual harassment protections for employees, and strengthen tenant, reproductive, and immigrant rights.”

Cruz came to the U.S. when she was nine with her mother from Colombia. After overstaying a tourist visa, the former undocumented immigrant gained citizenship through marriage and went on to John Jay and City University of New York School of Law.

She worked as a housing lawyer representing seniors and other low-income tenants and served as the director of Gov. Cuomo’s Exploited Workers Task Force before running for office. She was elected to the Assembly in 2018.

Cruz is nominated alongside Harris County Judge Lina Hidalgo, of Texas, Debra Lekanoff, a Washington state representative, Park Cannon, a Georgia state representative, Jennifer O’Mara, a Pennsylvania state representative, and Tram Nguyen, a Massachusetts state representative.

In 2014, former Georgia House Minority Leader Stacey Abrams became the first recipient of the award.