ABOUT THE CANDIDATES
Cristina was born on April 6, 1985 in Bogota, Colombia. She is the proud daughter of Martha Velasquez, who immigrated to the United States to pursue the American dream. She found that opportunity in the City of Elizabeth at a multi-family dwelling unit where her sister resided. Today, her mother still works for the same company she applied for 23 years ago. Cristina owes her integrity and conduct in the work place to the principles her mother instilled in her as a young girl.
Cristina is a product of the New Jersey Public School System. She is an alumna of Madison Monroe School No. #16, Battin Middle School, and Jefferson High School, where she graduated with Honors. Cristina went on to be the first person in her family to attend a four-year university in the United States, earning her bachelors degree in Broadcast Television and concentration in Political Science from Montclair State University. As a student, Cristina worked as a Spanish bilingual teacher in Scotch Plains. She also interned at Telemundo’s 47/WNJU, NBC’s Spanish-language sister television station, where she wrote news stories for the 6 and 11pm news.
In 2008, Cristina received an award from Montclair State University for her work on a half-hour magazine show on early childhood education in bilingualism. The show entitled, Carpe Diem, is an award-winning, weekly program aired on Comcast and Cablevision in northern New Jersey.
Cristina has continuously proven her passion in helping others. As a young woman, she volunteered for the Special Olympics of New Jersey, which provides sports training to children and adults with intellectual disabilities. She is also a former participant of the rigorous and competitive Youth Police Explorers Program where she provided countless of hours of community service to the City of Elizabeth. In 2002, she participated in the N.J. Law Enforcement Explorers Academy and won the physical agility phase I trophy.
Cristina has worked for numerous recognized companies and organizations across the State of New Jersey. She worked as a Line Producer for NBC’s Weather Plus. She worked for the 20th Legislative Office as a dedicated aide. And during the 2012 Primary, Cristina worked with the State and local democratic committees to help re-elect President Obama, Senator Menendez, and Mayor Chris Bollwage.
In 2010, Cristina served on a local committee that raised funds to bring victims of Haiti’s devastating earthquake to study in New Jersey. She is also a former volunteer for UNICEF’s Tap Project, a campaign that provides clean water to children around the world.
Cristina currently works for United Way of Greater Union County as a Corporate Relations Manager. Her work supports the organization’s mission of improving lives by developing relationships that sustain programs focused on education, income and health for New Jersey families in need.
Cristina serves as the Chair for the Elizabeth Housing Authority. Collectively with the board and staff, she works to ensure low and middle income families have quality and safe affordable housing. As a Commissioner, her job is to review, analyze, and implement policies to help improve the quality of life for all residents. She Chairs the Young Women's Christian Association of Union County’s (YWCA-UC) Advocacy Committee. This non-profit organization is the county’s leading domestic violence agency, providing emergency shelter to women and children who experience abuse. In addition, she is a member of Colombianos Sin Fronteras a civic, non-profit organization dedicated to helping the less fortunate and Hispanos Unidos charged with advancing Latino interests.
Her background in government, combined with her social advocacy, has been an excellent preparation for a career in Public Service. Cristina has a strong record of success in getting initiatives off the ground and implemented. She is a leader known for her ability to win community support and develop key coalitions. She takes honor in serving all communities.
Cristina draws inspiration from her past and the challenges she and her mother have had to endure to get where they are today. She is eager to serve on the Elizabeth School Board and help implement policies that foster equality within the City’s educational system. She believes that with a strong educational foundation, all of our students can be future leaders and achieve their goals.
Cristina is currently pursuing a Master’s Degree in Public Administration from Kean University. In 2013, she was elected to serve her first term on the Elizabeth Democratic Committee.