9 Things to Know About Presidential Hopeful Ted Cruz

The spotlight is on Texas senator Ted Cruz now that he's announced his 2016 presidential bid, so we're breaking down a few fast facts about the 44-year-old Republican politician. Less than 24 hours after his announcement, the campaign website is up and running, and in a speech delivered at Liberty University on Monday, Cruz called on the crowd to imagine a president who'd repeal the Affordable Care Act, abolish the IRS, "defend the sanctity of human life, and uphold the sacrament of marriage." From his family life to his stances on key political issues, here are nine things to know about presidential hopeful Ted Cruz.

01
He Was Born in Canada
Getty | NICHOLAS KAMM

He Was Born in Canada

Although Cruz grew up in Texas, he was born in Canada, and he renounced his Canadian citizenship in 2013. His father was born in Cuba, and his mother was born in the United States. The family lived in Calgary, Alberta, Canada, when he was born — an issue that will likely come up related to his eligibility to run for president.

02
He's Married With Two Kids
Twitter | TedCruz

He's Married With Two Kids

He and his wife, Heidi, live in his hometown of Houston with their two daughters, Caroline and Catherine.

03
His Wife Works For Goldman Sachs
Getty | PAUL J. RICHARDS

His Wife Works For Goldman Sachs

Ted Cruz's wife, Heidi, is a managing director at Goldman Sachs. She'll reportedly take a leave of absence to campaign with her husband.

04
His Dad Is a Pastor
Getty | Chip Somodevilla

His Dad Is a Pastor

Cruz's father, Rafael, is an evangelical pastor who was born in Cuba and fought in the revolution, escaping to Texas in 1957. When Cruz announced his presidential bid, he talked about how his father's escape from Cuba taught him about the power of Christianity. Meanwhile, his father has made headlines of his own in the past, unafraid to make controversial comments. In May 2014, he gave some voting advice to Christians, saying, "Let me shock you a little bit. Did you know that the Bible tells you exactly who to vote for?"

05
His Mom Is a Breast Cancer Survivor
Twitter | TedCruz

His Mom Is a Breast Cancer Survivor

In October, Cruz participated in the Race For the Cure with his family in Houston. He posted a picture of the group, writing, "My mom's a 14-year breast cancer survivor, and we're all standing together to find a cure for this terrible disease."

06
He Has a Long History of Debating
Getty | Drew Angerer

He Has a Long History of Debating

Cruz attended Princeton University, where he was a top speaker at both the US National Debating Championship and the North American Debating Championship. Later, he studied at Harvard Law, and he spent five years as a partner at a private law practice in Houston. Cruz also taught as an Adjunct Professor of Law at the University of Texas School of Law from 2004 to 2009.

07
He Was Elected to the Senate in 2012
Getty | Chip Somodevilla

He Was Elected to the Senate in 2012

In 2012, Tea Party favorite Cruz became the first Hispanic or Cuban American citizen to serve as a US senator from Texas, and that marked his first time ever being elected to office.

08
He's the Guy Who Read Dr. Seuss on the Senate Floor
Getty | Mark Wilson

He's the Guy Who Read Dr. Seuss on the Senate Floor

Cruz made headlines in September 2013 when he talked for 21 hours on the Senate floor, hoping to stop the implementation of the Affordable Care Act. During the filibuster, he read bedtime stories like Green Eggs and Ham to his daughters, prompting mixed reactions from both parties, including John McCain who once called Cruz a "wacko bird."

09
He's Outlined a Few Key Political Stances in the Past
Getty | Richard Ellis

He's Outlined a Few Key Political Stances in the Past

During a 2013 appearance on The Tonight Show, Cruz talked to Jay Leno about a few hot-button issues. Some highlights:

  • On gay marriage: "I support marriage between one man and one woman. But I also think it's a question for the states. Some states have made decisions one way on gay marriage. Some states have made decisions the other way. And that's the great thing about our Constitution, is different states can make different decisions depending on the values of their citizens."
  • On gun rights: "Do you target violent criminals, or do you try to take away the constitutional rights of law-abiding citizens?"

He also sat down with Seth Meyers on March 17, saying that he and John McCain have become friends and clarifying his thoughts on same-sex marriage. "I'm a Constitutionalist," he said, adding, "It shouldn't be the federal government or unelected judging imposing their own definition of marriage. We should instead respect our constitutional system." Seth also challenged Cruz on how he feels about climate change:

  • On global warming: "Debates on this should follow science, and should follow data, and many of the alarmists on global warming, they've got a problem because the science doesn't back them up . . . Satellite data demonstrates for the last 17 years there's been zero warming."