OC Alumnus José Cruz Earns a Spot in the House of Representatives
“We’re all Americans and Oklahomans. I don’t care where you live in the state or if you agree with me on everything. My goal is to help you. I want to connect with you, get to know you and to help you or connect you with someone who can.”
On November 11, 2020, José Cruz (12) was sworn in as State Representative for Oklahoma House District 89.
“I didn’t set out to become a politician,” said Cruz, who has already authored fourteen measures. “I ran for office out of necessity in the community. In south Oklahoma City, there is a lack of community organizations, and because of that, a lack of city dollars. I want to change that. I want children to get the education they deserve and for families to feel like a part of the greater Oklahoma City community.”
And the OKC community needed Cruz’s voice. A first-generation college graduate, Cruz learned about hard work from his father and the value of education from his mother. After earning his communications degree from OC, he worked in a law office to help people navigate the legal system.
In May 2020, Cruz graduated from Oklahoma City University School of Law and a seat opened up in the House of Representatives. He knew his perspective as a young, bilingual Mexican American would be valuable in Oklahoma’s House. After encouragement from friends, Cruz ran and won. Following a diverse career filled with opportunities to network with people, Cruz landed in a spot where he felt called.
“I’m one of just several lawyers in the house,” Cruz said. “I’m one of few people of color. I’m one of few bilingual representatives. I’m likely the only naturalized citizen. I’m needed here, and I know this is where I’m supposed to be. My presence brings accountability, and my law degree brings proficiency. I’m happy to be the voice for a community that often doesn’t feel heard.”
Being a politician demands a lot of a person. Constituents come to you with real needs, attendance at events is frequently required and representatives must weigh in on life-changing decisions. Cruz stands tall above it all. Amid the challenges in his new role, he recognizes his ability to deploy his unique perspective to help Oklahomans. Helping others is what motivates Cruz to serve as a person of influence.