Bexar County’s second precinct candidate Queta Rodriguez.
Queta Rodriguez plans to run for Bexar County Commissioner, Pct. 2. Credit: Bonnie Arbittier / San Antonio Report

Queta Rodriguez plans to formally announce her campaign for Bexar County Commissioner, Precinct 2 on Saturday.

The 49-year-old Texas-Midwest regional director of veteran career development nonprofit Fourblock has nothing against the current Precinct 2 commissioner, she said. But she believes she brings the leadership skills necessary to enact change at the county level. She also believes that the court should be reflective of the people that it represents.

“I tell people don’t vote for me simply because I’m a woman,” she said. “But when we have a candidate who’s qualified and capable, and we have an opportunity to diversify our governing body body, we should be doing that.”

This is not Rodriguez’s first run for commissioners court. She ran in the 2018 Democratic primary against the late Precinct 2 Commissioner Paul Elizondo and forced the race into a runoff in March. Elizondo ended up narrowly winning the primary with 388 votes, or 51 percent of the vote. He soundly defeated his Republican challenger in November with 66 percent of the vote. 

After Elizondo died last December, Bexar County Judge Nelson Wolff appointed former State Rep. Justin Rodriguez to fill his seat. Rodriguez will serve until the end of the term in 2020.

Rodriguez has experience in county government; she served as Bexar County’s veteran services officer up until earlier this year when the position was eliminated. She pledged to not only restore services that were cut to the agency, but also address larger problems that she said are most important to the community: affordable housing, income inequality, and poverty.

“Commissioner [Tommy] Calvert has been trying to push the County into taking action on affordable housing. He’s been the lone voice on that, and we need more people to stand up and say, ‘yes, we need to do something,’” Rodriguez said. “Maybe it’s not clearly defined by our state statute, but that doesn’t mean we cannot do something about it.”

Commissioner Rodriguez maintains a strong financial position for the upcoming election, with $455,347 cash on hand as of June 30. Queta Rodriguez showed no cash on hand in her latest campaign finance report, which covered the same time period. She said she was not concerned with the gap between her and Commissioner Rodriguez’s fundraising levels.

“Of course it takes money to run a campaign, but we were able to get as close as we were [last election] being outspent 13 to 1,” she said. “I’m more concerned with making sure I’m doing what’s best in the interest of the everyday person and not people contributing $20,000 to my campaign.”

Commissioner Rodriguez plans to formally announce his campaign in October. He hopes to continue working on projects and initiatives that he started while on commissioners court, he said. He noted that he wants to continue to promote the Alameda Theater renovations, and that he is currently in the middle of launching an initiative to give more funding to mental health programs

“I want to see those things through,” he said. “Those things take time. I feel like time’s on my side, if I can prove to my constituents I’m worthy of the office. I’m going to ask for another term in 2020 to continue the progress and some of those projects.”

Queta Rodriguez argued that voters did not elect Commissioner Rodriguez in January, but voters deserve a choice.

“Our community had zero input on his appointment,” she said. “I like him, but being likeable is not the most important thing in leadership. You need to get things done and have the moral courage to push initiatives.”

The 2020 election will give people a choice, Commissioner Rodriguez said. He said his approach to campaigning would not be affected by Queta Rodriguez’s run. He has knocked on doors and utilized a grassroots approach every single time he has run for office, he said.

“There’s an old saying: ‘There’s only two ways to run. It’s either unopposed or scared,'” he said. “If you have someone put their name on the ballot, you run like you’re behind. That’s the only way I know how to run campaigns. That’s the approach me and my team will take when we kick off in October.”

Jackie Wang covered local government for the San Antonio Report.