EL PASO — The future of Texas rests on the future of the Sun City, said County Attorney Jose Rodriguez as he announced his intentions to run for the state senate seat vacated by retiring State Senator Eliot Shapleigh.
Rodriguez made the announcement early Sunday at the Cafe Mayapan near Downtown El Paso. Moments after he was introduced by his wife, Carmen, Rodriguez called her back to the podium to give her a kiss. He later thanked his family and supporters for their help throughout his career.
“I am very humbled and inspired by your presence. Almost 20 years ago, as a young lawyer with no political experience, I decided to run for county attorney,” he said, “Some may say I was presumptuous. Had I decided to do it alone, I would have been presumptuous.”
Rodriguez said he learned early in his political career about the power of bringing talented young people together. “These were people who really cared about their community,” he said,” We didn’t just want to be a part of government, we wanted to be a part of the solution to everyday problems that confronted our community.”
The county attorney said the Borderland community has some tough challenges to address. According to him, these include the expansion of Fort Bliss, the high rate of uninsured, health disparities along the border, and an education system that lacks sufficient funding.
“We’ll remove the economic barriers that keep many of our talented young people from obtaining a higher education,” said Rodriguez. He said his plans for the state legislature includeworking to secure more investment in education for young children, address the problem of high school dropouts, and recruit more math and science teachers.
Rodriguez said additional funding and investment in the University of Texas at El Paso and the Paul L. Foster School of Medicine at the Texas Tech campus will bring more prosperity to El Paso. “It will create more businesses and increase our tax base,” said Rodriguez.
“We have the youngest labor force in the country. I want Austin and Washington to know that the El Paso community is a great community,” he added. “As the future of El Paso goes, so does the future of the state of Texas and the rest of the country.”
State Representative Norma Chavez has said she plans to run for the seat but has not made an official announcement.