Manny Cruz is a Dad, public servant, entrepreneur, and non-profit leader who grew up in Salem. He attended the Salem Public Schools, including the Horace Mann Lab School, Collins Middle School, and Salem High School. Manny survived domestic violence and abuse with his mother at the hands of his father and stepfather. Because of this, she raised him and his two brothers as a single mom. Manny’s family faced eviction and he struggled in school, often acting out and getting in trouble. It was in high school, during a ten-day suspension, that Manny’s mother gave him his “one good suit,” and imparted her belief that he would wear it not only in court, but in job interviews, at college graduation, and in service to his community.
His life was saved with the help of his many mentors and local organizations. Mentors like Officer Mike Fecto, a school resource officer, Andre Daley of the Boys and Girls Club, and Linda Saris of LEAP4Ed wouldn’t give up on him. Linda became his sponsor to join the Governor Deval Patrick’s Statewide Youth Council, and drove him all over the state to participate.
These mentors were pivotal to Manny’s academic success. He successfully graduated from Salem High School, attended Salem State University where he studied political science, and later transferred to Northeastern University where he graduated cum laude. Manny worked at the Salem Maritime National Historic Park, in the office of Attorney General Martha Coakley, the Institute for Healthcare Improvement, and the US District Court. During this time, Manny deepend his commitment to public service.
Beginning in 2017, Manny served as a Legislative Aide to State Representative Juana Matias, and worked to secure funding for community programs and provided constituent services to residents. In 2019 Manny joined the Office of State Representative Paul F. Tucker, where he continued to build his policy expertise in the areas of education, public safety, tourism, and advanced key strategic initiatives in the city of Salem.
In November of 2017 Manny became an elected member of the Salem School Committee where he now serves the students and families of the Salem Public School District. In addition to his public service, Manny previously was the president of business development at Brothers Taverna. He now serves as Advocacy Director for an education non-profit, Latinos for Education. Manny is a mentor for youth and is highly involved with youth-serving organizations such as the Boys and Girls Club of Greater Salem and LEAP for Education. Manny currently serves on the boards of LEAP for Education, Plummer Youth Promise, and the Massachusetts Alliance for Early College. He previously served on the board of Northshore Community Action programs.
Manny married his wife, Vanessa Cruz, in 2019, and they recently welcomed their daughter, Ivy Sofia.