Rodriguez does not have an opponent in the 2022 general election. He was appointed by Bexar County Judge Nelson Wolff in 2019 to fill the Precinct 2 seat left vacant by the death of Paul Elizondo, winning election to fill Elizondo’s unexpired term in 2020. Rodriguez was elected to the Texas Legislature in 2012.
Hear from the candidate
What do you consider the top challenge facing the county and how would you address it?
We need to continue focusing on overcoming the negative impacts of COVID-19 and building a more resilient community. This means making sure that our neighbors have the opportunity to get back on their feet and provide for their families. Meaningful investments in areas like public health, affordable housing, workforce training, and community infrastructure can help create economic opportunity and long-term stability.
With the election of a new county judge, what three priorities would you like to see the commissioners court focus on?
Addressing the crisis in our mental and behavioral health system is a high priority for me. I also believe the county should continue to help address our housing affordability issues, including providing a safety net for those who may be houseless. We need to do it in a way that overcomes longstanding barriers that prevent or constrain access to resources and opportunities Lastly, we must carefully oversee the implementation of our $716 million capital program. We will be making significant infrastructure investments in flood control, parks, community facilities and creekways over the next 10 years.
Do you think the commissioners court’s efforts at reducing the property tax burden have been sufficient? If not, what else should be done?
Property taxes have become a significant burden for most homeowners in Bexar County. This is due, in large part, to an appraisal system that is arbitrary and inconsistent. Earlier this year, commissioners increased the University Health property tax exemption for those over 65 to $30,000 and passed the first-ever Bexar County homestead exemption equal to 20% of the appraised value on the portion of ad valorem taxes collected by the county. Unfortunately, reducing the tax rate at the local level has a de minimus impact on the average homeowner. Real change has to come from our lawmakers in Austin with legislation targeting property tax appraisal reform.
What steps should the commissioners take to address longstanding problems at the county jail, including staffing, capacity and safety issues?
There are longstanding, complex challenges that have been exacerbated by COVID-19 closures and social distancing requirements. In addition, we have been overextended due to unreasonable and unjust bail requirements from our Governor, refusal of the State to provide the resources necessary to support those who are incompetent to stand trial, and we are barred from transferring State inmates to State facilities. Despite these challenges, local county leadership is committed to doing our part to help. Last fall, Commissioners Court authorized an assessment of the Bexar County Sheriff’s Department jail operations. A draft report was recently shared with our offices and our next step is to work in partnership with the sheriff, county manager, district attorney and the judiciary to take an in-depth look at the findings. We have already convened an informal committee to begin discussing innovative ways to reduce the inmate population.