Saturday, September 30, 2017
"... Like many Puerto Ricans, she left the island to pursue opportunities on the mainland, earning a bachelor's in political science at Boston University and a master's in public management and policy at Carnegie Mellon.
She stayed on the mainland for many years, according to her official biography, and worked her way up to the position of human resources director at several companies, including Scotiabank and the U.S. Treasury Department.
In a 2014 interview with a small New York newspaper, Cruz described the tug of war she and other Puerto Ricans often feel between the mainland and their home island.
"I often say to my friends that I felt too Puerto Rican to live in the States; then I felt too American to live in Puerto Rico," she said. "So when I settled back in Puerto Rico in 1992, I had to come to terms with all of that."
After 12 years on the mainland, Cruz returned to her island to plunge back into politics.
She became an adviser to Sila María Calderón, a San Juan mayor who later became Puerto Rico's only female governor.
With the experience she gained under Calderón, Cruz ran in 2000 for a seat in Puerto Rico's House of Representatives. She lost that race, but in 2008 she ran again and won.
"Politics is a rough game, and sometimes as females we are taught that you have to play nice," she said in a 2014 interview. "Sometimes you can't play nice."
A new mayor
As the race for mayorship of her home town approached in 2012, she waffled publicly on whether to become a candidate.
At first she denied any plans to run. Once she entered the race, she strung together a series of small coalitions — including the LGBT community, students, Dominican immigrants and taxi drivers — to form a base of support.
Such allies helped her defeat a formidable opponent — a three-time incumbent, Jorge Santini.
"People don't realize they have the power," she recalled in an interview several years later. "People don't realize that if they come together, there are more of them than those who occupy the seat that I'm in right now."
Puerto Rico's politics are largely defined by their relationship with the mainland and whether the island should remain a U.S. territory, gain statehood or vie for independence."
Who is Carmen Yulín Cruz, the San Juan mayor Trump blasted? - The Washington Post