Ana Cruz has been immersed in the world of local, state and federal politics from her home-base of Tampa, FL. For over twenty years, Cruz has advised high profile candidates running for office to work inside the state and federal government. Her lengthy experiences have brought her to the national stage as she advocates for the policy objectives of her clients. Cruz is Named Partner in D.C at bipartisan government relations firm, Ballard Partners, and Managing Partner at their Tampa Bay practice, splitting her time between the nation’s capitol and Florida. Cruz’s rise is an astounding one, particularly for an individual who is a member of both the Latin-X and LGBTQ+ communities, groups that are fighting to make their way in a predominately heteronormative, caucasian landscape.
Cruz’s trailblazing path in politics is compelling. Not only was she the first Hispanic to serve as the Executive Director of the Florida Democratic Party, but she was also the youngest in its history. That pioneering career move led to her joining Hillary Clinton’s campaign as a Florida Advisor and spokesperson in both of Clinton’s 2008 and 2016 runs for President. Her extensive career in politics has led to relationships with and positions at the highest rungs of government. Most recently, the Biden campaign tapped Cruz in an advisory role in Florida during the 2020 Presidential Election. Speaking on her new DC role with Ballard Partners as she begins navigating the new political landscape in Washington, DC, Cruz said, “I am incredibly excited to help our clients at the federal level, particularly with this new administration and the staff, many of which I have worked with closely over the past two decades.”
Recently, Cruz was asked, does our federal and local governments really impact our daily lives? Her answer was very clear. One vivid example was current government efforts to combat the virus, saying, “We can certainly take a very pointed example in the way the federal government and our former president handled a wide-spread pandemic. That example alone shows how much power the President of the United States and Congress directly have on our lives.”
Cruz made her way to the national stage due to her decades of both campaign and policy work which led her to a career in advocacy. Early on, Cruz had a hand in helping shape cities, like Tampa and Orlando, that are now modern and vibrant communities. Describing her hometown city, Cruz says, “Since the ‘08 Recession, Tampa has reinvented itself, while staying true to what makes us so special.
“Tampa’s success and ability to thrive in good times and in bad are rooted in our city’s diversity, our embrace of different cultures and ideas, and our business environment that attracts young professionals to move here and launch their next venture. For years, we had all the pieces necessary to grow into a major technology hub—a cosmopolitan city influenced by communities around the world, a welcoming business environment that gave those who wanted to pursue a new idea an opportunity to succeed, and we had institutions such as our world-class hospitals and universities that provided the experience and knowledge which helps entrepreneurs take their idea to the next level.”
Tampa’s status as a budding tech-city can be directly traced back to Cruz’s consulting efforts. After moving into governmental affairs, Cruz worked to facilitate Verizon’s integration of their FTTP technology in Tampa and Hillsborough County, her successful effort as part of a team that brought Uber ridesharing to the area, and her work on a $17.1 million Federal Grant project for Connected Vehicles in Tampa.
Cruz has shown time and again that she has the ability to impact local governments in ways that ripple to the national level. Her legacy of breaking glass ceilings can serve as an inspiration to millions across the country. She has served as a mentor to young professional latinos and has been immensely active on the issues that affect the hispanic community. Speaking on her responsibility as an LGBTQ+ member of the Latinx community that has climbed the political ladder in such historic fashion, Cruz said, “At times, it can feel somewhat surreal that we have arrived at this moment in time, but in reality, there is still so much work to be done and I will continue to fight for equality across the board.”
When Vice President Harris spoke at the victory rally after the election, she recalled what her mother told her as she began her career: “You may be the first to do many things, but make sure you are not the last.’ That is how I view my role. I may be the first to do many things, but my job is to make sure I am not the last.”
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