Deputy Commissioner for External Relations
Santo Cruz is Deputy Commissioner of the External Relations Administration at the Minnesota Department of Human Services (DHS). He oversees the department’s Legislative Affairs Division, Federal Relations, County Relations, Community and Partner Relations, the Office of Indian Policy, Communications and Office of Inspector General.
Cruz has experience in both state and county government. He held a number of leadership positions at the Minnesota Department of Agriculture (MDA), including assistant commissioner, general counsel and legislative director. He also provided oversight for marketing and development divisions of MDA. Previously, he was an attorney for the Minnesota Department of Commerce where he provided legal advice and counsel to all areas of the agency, including divisions regulating financial institutions, energy and insurance in Minnesota. In addition to his experience in state service, he served as both a prosecutor and press secretary for Hennepin County Attorney Mike Freeman.
Cruz holds a Juris Doctor degree from the University of St. Thomas School of Law. He lives in St. Paul with his wife, four daughters and their German Shorthaired Pointer named Lutsen.