© 2024 Texas Public Radio
Real. Reliable. Texas Public Radio.
Play Live Radio
Next Up:
0:00 0:00
Available On Air Stations

Councilman Jalen McKee-Rodriguez wins reelection in turnover-prone District 2

Jalen McKee-Rodriguez at his victory party on runoff election night on June 6, 2021.
Joey Palacios
Jalen McKee-Rodriguez at his victory party on runoff election night on June 6, 2021.

City Councilman Jalen McKee-Rodriguez held onto his seat Saturday night, averting a runoff in District 2 on the East Side. The district – which runs from Dignowity Hill to near Windcrest - is prone to turnover.

The last time a council member was re-elected to a second term in District 2 was in 2015, when Alan Warrick II defeated Keith Toney and Antonio Diaz.

McKee-Rodriguez, an educator and the first openly gay Black man to hold elected office in Texas, defeated 9 challengers for the council seat he first won in 2021. In an interview with TPR, the councilman said consistent outreach was a key reason for his victory.

“We have a monthly newsletter that hits 10,000 households. We block-walk. We text message. We do all the things that a campaign does, but we do them year-round,” McKee-Rodriguez explained. “So folks feel connected to our office in ways that they haven't previously.”

Council incumbents Jalen McKee-Rodriguez, Phyllis Viagran, Adriana Rocha Garcia, Teri Castillo, Melissa Cabello Havrda, Manny Peláez, John Courage held on to their seats.

McKee-Rodriguez advocates for “equitable investment in city infrastructure, increased focus on the social determinants of health, accountability and transparency in city operations, and the re-imagination of public safety to prevent crime,” according to the city of San Antonio website.

McKee-Rodriguez has authored at least 12 council consideration requests since taking office. He’s put forth ideas such as a street lighting index, a Civil Rights Coordinator, a Director of Crime & Recidivism Prevention, and revisions to the city’s equity lens formula.

The councilman said he is looking forward to budget season, when he expects to see greater consideration of racial and economic equity in the budget development process. His top priorities for next term include improving road conditions in District 2 and constructing a new senior center, among other items.

“We have some of the highest numbers of failing streets in the city,” he added. “I think the stray and roaming animal population is very high in my district. Then houselessness remains one of those difficult, difficult challenges.”

TPR was founded by and is supported by our community. If you value our commitment to the highest standards of responsible journalism and are able to do so, please consider making your gift of support today.

Carson Frame was Texas Public Radio's military and veterans' issues reporter from July 2017 until March 2024.