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Born on May 20, 1933 in Beaumont, Texas. Mr. Cruz is the first Mexican American state representative from Houston to the Texas Legislature. He earned his B.A. in Political Science from the University of Houston.
The interview begins with the history and genealogy of the Cruz family. He elaborates upon his political activism in the Democratic Party as a precinct judge and his later involvement with the Humphrey-Johnson presidential campaign as campaign co-chairman. He describes the difficulties that Mexican Americans experience in seeking elected office due to racial prejudice and stereotyping by the White dominated power structure. Mr. Cruz talks about his involvement with the farm workers' Austin March of 1966, and describes political activities by Mexican Americans and labor unions during that protest. He elaborates upon the role that the Raza Unida Party played in denying Governor Dolph Briscoe a majority vote in his re-election bid, and he tells about serving as his special assistant later. Mr. Cruz describes the tension created when the Mexican American Democrats (MAD) organization was formed to counter the effectiveness of the Raza Unida Party with voters from the Mexican American Community. Mr. Cruz describes his work as staff manager for Senator Carlos Truan and talks about establishing his own independent public relations company. He concludes the interview with a description of his leadership-training program for Mexican Americans at the LBJ School of Public Affairs at the University of Texas.
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