Robert Cruz was born and grew up on the East Side of Joliet. He attended Catholic schools and graduated from Providence Catholic High School. Cruz was the starting quarterback for two state championship football teams in the mid-’90s. He attended Millikin University in Decatur, Ill., and the University of Dubuque in Dubuque, Iowa, where he studied business administration.
After college, Cruz accepted a sales position with Cintas Corp. Management formally recognized his drive and commitment to his duties by honoring him with a Winners’ Circle Sales Award, which is given only to the top 5% of the company.
A long-time resident of Oak Lawn, Cruz is currently a business owner working in construction and development. He’s also serving a four-year term on the Oak Lawn Community High School District 29 board.
In 2011, Cruz was diagnosed with leukemia at Rush University Medical Center in Chicago. After a grueling three-year battle, he achieved remission. His ordeal motivated him to join the professional board of Imerman Angels, a one-on-one cancer survivors group that provides encouragement and emotional support to patients and their loved ones dealing with cancer.
In 2020, Cruz co-founded the GOP Jamboree, an organization dedicated to attracting younger people to the Republican Party through song and culture. He was also recruited to work on the VOTE NO campaign, a grassroots initiative that would block Illinois politicians from burdening already-stressed residents with higher tax burdens.
My sister and I attended Catholic schools during our childhood. In 1993, I attended Providence Catholic High School. By the time I left, we were the proud owners of a 42-game winning streak and 3 state football championships, of which I started at QB for two of them. Winning never comes easy. It takes long hours of preparation and hard work. The harder one works, the more accomplished and luckier one gets.
After high school, I attended Millikin University in Decatur, Ill., for one year before transferring to the University of Dubuque in Dubuque, Iowa. I left college early to help out at home, where my father struggled with undiagnosed PTSD from his time in the military. That experience, like no other, made it clear to me that our Veterans sacrifice their freedoms, so we can enjoy ours. Their medical services must be a priority so that men and women who served in the uniform like my father are guaranteed the help they’ve earned before more families are torn apart.
My first job was in sales at Cintas Corp, where I won a Winners’ Circle Sales Award. But my entrepreneurial spirit pushed me into the small business sector. I’ve always had a passion for real estate from my early days as a Monopoly champion. I’ve developed, consulted, contracted and sold real estate for over 17 years in struggling neighborhoods and understand the challenges small business owners face today in Illinois. With Washington spending far beyond its means, small businesses will bear the burden. When elected, I plan to work for the citizens and small business owners of this state, not against their interests. During the 2020 referendum election in Illinois, I put my money where my mouth was. I worked with the VOTE NO campaign and was selected to be a part of a mailer sent out to more than 4 million Illinoisans to help defeat that referendum. Talk is cheap. We need doers looking out for the economic engine of Illinois.
Growing up in the sports arena, there are several lessons one learns to succeed in life. One involves overcoming adversity. How one deals with adversity is a testament to one’s character. I’ve had my fair share of adversity. The recession in 2008 nearly bankrupted my business. In June of 2011, I was told the three words no one ever wants to hear: “You have cancer.” When I heard that, I was drawn to another lesson of my youth in the athletic arena: A WINNER NEVER QUITS, AND A QUITTER NEVER WINS. I’d didn’t quit fighting cancer then, and I will never quit delivering what’s best for the people of Illinois. The last lesson one learns from competing is integrity. That’s the most crucial feature to maintaining trust in the electoral process. However, election disputes have put that process in doubt. We must restore that faith with common-sense approaches like requiring voter ID, that mail-in ballots only be sent to people who request them, voter rolls thoroughly and frequently purged to weed out those who have moved or died and “vote harvesting” abolished.
After my remission through the grace of our Lord and Savior Jesus Christ, I felt compelled to serve. First, I volunteered with Imermans Angels as a mentor angel. Once a month, we’d visit patients during treatment. One visit, in particular, shaped my desire to run for office. It was July 2019. I was comforting a woman who had already beaten leukemia-lymphoma. Now she had a third bout on her hands. Her copays were 70%. She felt it would be easier given up. I told her giving up would lead to those she loves to do the same. She worked for 40 years, and this is what she had to show for it. That was unacceptable.” Healthcare not only for our veterans but for hardworking people MUST BE A PRIORITY! The Good Samaritan Act will be something I immediately propose to help underserved communities and small business owners.
As a parent, education is of the highest priorities. What children are being taught daily affects their lives as they grow into adulthood. I want to keep the focus on reading, writing, and arithmetic. Also, problem-solving skills that will serve them as adults to handle whatever adversity brings them. In addition to that, I want to provide Illinois taxpayers a level-playing field when it comes to property taxes. We are the second-highest taxed state in the union, and what returns have we gotten for that? This is why I ran for the Oak Lawn school board district 229 and will continue to serve as an example that we need to work with our local leaders to help solve these problems. It’s time to WORK TOGETHER!
As a kid, I always was drawn to the story of the birth of America, especially George Washington. I was amazed at his willingness to share responsibilities so that all were able to serve. I would like to continue that tradition by immediately introducing legislation for term limits under the name “George Washington clause.” Term limits are agreed upon between Republicans and Democrats alike.
In closing, it’s time for us Republicans to go on the offense. We need to organize groups to knock on doors to spread our message of peace and prosperity, poll watch and assist as election judges. For too long, we have let Democrats ruin our elections, ruin our government and ruin our streets. So when you see me walking your neighborhood, get off the sidelines and jump in the game!