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Name:  Catalina Cruz
Office Sought: New York State Assembly District 39
Party Affiliation(s): Democrat
Age:
Education: John Jay College of Criminal Justice/CUNY, BA Forensic Psychology; CUNY Law School, Juris Doctorate
Occupation/Employer: NYS Assembly
Previous Offices, Campaigns and Community/Civic Involvement:
NYS Assembly Member, former Chief of Staff to Julissa Ferreras
Website:  http://www.cruzfornewyork.com/
Twitter:  @catalinacruzny
Facebookwww.Facebook.com/catalinacruzny

CANDIDATE QUESTIONS

Please state whether you support or oppose the following reform measures. If you wish to elaborate on your answers, you may do so in the provided space at the bottom of this page.

 

Ethics

  1. Replace the Joint Commission on Public Ethics and the Legislative Ethics Commission with an effective and independent enforcement body (S594A/A1282A).
    Support
  1. Limit outside compensation earned by state legislators and statewide officials to 25% of their salaries and eliminate stipends.
    Support

 

Elections and Voting

  1. Do you support or oppose the following changes to the state’s current registration and voting system?
    1. No-excuse absentee voting (second passage of constitutional amendment)
      Support
    2. Election Day voter registration (second passage of constitutional amendment)
      Support
    3. Re-enfranchisement of people on parole automatically through legislation, without requiring a Certificate of Good Conduct or Relief
      Support
    4. Automatic voter registration, unless the potential voter opts outSupportMandating poll sites on college campuses
      Support
  1. Reform the special election process, utilizing a nonpartisan special election for state legislative seats and eliminate delays in filling vacancies.
    Support
  1. Reduce the vote threshold to become a registered party back to 50,000 votes and keep the gubernatorial election as the qualifying election, and reduce the petition requirement for independent candidates back to 15,000 signatures.
    Support

 

Campaign Finance

  1. Amend the state’s public campaign financing system, approved in the 2021 budget, by
    1. Drastically reduce campaign contribution limits
      Support
    2. Set even lower contribution limits for registered lobbyists and those who do business with the state
      Support
    3. Move the campaign finance matching program to be administered by an independent, nonpartisan body outside of the NY Board of Election
      Support
    4. Simplify the matching system by making both in- and out-of-district donations eligible and by eliminating the three different tiers for matching
      Support

 

Budget Process

  1. Require full disclosure of grants and contracts issued by the state, including the budget lines from which the spending is made and reporting on the results of each grant or contract over a certain amount.
    Support
  1. Provide for effective online disclosure and itemization of spending from elected officials’ lump sum appropriations, including reporting on potential conflicts of interest and how the funds are spent.
    Support

 

Police Accountability

  1. Repeal Civil Rights Law, Sec. 50-a, which shields from public view the disciplinary records of police officers, correction officers, and firefighters.
    Support

 

Election Administration

  1. Restructure the state Board of Elections to abolish the strict two-party division of governance and operation and put in place professional, nonpartisan administration.
    Support
  1. Empower the attorney general to investigate and prosecute election law malfeasance and cases of public corruption.
    Support

 

Home Rule

  1. Make mayoral control of city schools permanent, with a governance system that provides for accountability, transparency, parent engagement, and democratic participation.
    Support

 

Court Reform

  1. Simplify and consolidate New York State’s court system by passing the Chief Judge’s proposed constitutional amendment to modernize the courts.
    Support

If needed, you may elaborate below on your positions on the previous questions. You may also provide additional information on any actions that you have taken or plan to take to advance your positions on these issues.

 

RESPONDING TO THE COVID-19 OUTBREAK

Government under the COVID-19 outbreak

  1. Adopt technological solutions and provisions that will allow the New York State legislature to convene and vote remotely if needed.
    Support
  1. Provide public access to observe and participate in government proceedings, in meetings that would be public under the New York Open Meetings Law, via live and recorded video available on government Website:
    Support
  1. Implement immediate programs to facilitate absentee voting for all New York voters as long as the widespread contagion risk of COVID-19 continues, under current state constitutional limitations. This includes electronic submission of absentee ballot applications without a wet signature and a public information campaign.
    Support
  1. What are your concerns regarding the use of emergency powers during this crisis, and how do you think NY government can maintain public accountability standards at this time?
    While I commend Governor Cuomo for his leadership during this time of crisis, as he had to make swift and drastic decisions that were necessary for the safety of the citizens of our state, I remain vigilant that all decisions are in the best interest of the community. The emergency powers granted by the legislature are not absolute, they have an end date and we have a legislative ability to challenge anything that goes beyond the permissible reach.

 

Serving the public under the COVID-19 outbreak

  1. What are the biggest challenges in your district in dealing with the coronavirus outbreak?
    As the district with the highest number of confirmed cases (“the epicenter of the epicenter”), my community has been hit the hardest. Forty percent of my district has a non-permanent status (undocumented, DACA, asylum and others), which means that even though many lost their jobs, they do not qualify for federal and state subsidies. Our biggest challenges have been lack of income, resulting in food insecurity and possible evictions.
  1. What are the appropriate roles of city, state, and federal governments in a crisis such as this?
    The public is scared and desperate for answers. The government has a responsibility to ensure this disease does not progress further, whether that means informing the community of safety measures to take or enforcing public health protocols to reduce disease transmission.
  1. How will you help your future constituents, residents and businesses, access potential funding from the Coronavirus Aid, Relief, and Economic Security (CARES) Act, or any other future government relief funds?
    With the failure of the initial rollout of stimulus aid, I have been working to ensure a repeat of it does not happen. I will continue to hold NYC Small Business Services and the Small Business Administration accountable to ensure that funding for small businesses trickles down to the neighborhoods that need it most, not corporations or luxury retailers. I have also instructed my staff on how to apply for these grants so they can help constituents if they need assistance as well as make referrals to entities that can also help.

 

CAMPAIGN PROMISES MADE TO VOTERS

What are the top five promises you are making to the voters during the campaign?

Campaign Promise 1
Pass Medicare-for-All with NY Health Act

Campaign Promise 2
Criminal Justice Reform

Campaign Promise 3
Public Financing of Campaigns

Campaign Promise 4
Make NY a Sanctuary State for Immigrants

Campaign Promise 5
Reform the MTA for faster, more reliable service

 

ETHICAL REPRESENTATION OF CONSTITUENTS

Citizens Union believes that all New Yorkers deserve to be represented by officials who work for the public interest and honor the public trust. With the corruption conviction of recent legislative leaders, we seek to endorse a candidate who will demonstrate that she/he will honor the full commitment of the oath of office, and always represent the public interest above all else.

Please tell us how you have and would continue to conduct the political affairs of this office in an upright manner, and maintain the public trust.
I firmly believe in earning and keeping the trust of the community. I have always put their interests above politics, even if it means making the hard decision. For example, I voted against an austerity budget that rolled back bail reform changes, failed to raise taxes on the ultra rich and did not meet the needs of our community. I do not believe in making promises, rather, I make commitments to work hard and always put my community first. I have and will continue to support and sponsor legislation that seeks to clean up Albany of corrupt politicians, lobbyists, and sexual harassers that have eroded the trust of the people.

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