25-year-old Jalen McKee-Rodriguez has a lot to offer the San Antonio City Council in Texas, and his win in the recent District 2 run-off proves the people are ready to give him the platform to do so. McKee-Rodriguez beat his former boss and incumbent Jada Andrews-Sullivan by 1,230 votes to be the first openly gay Black man to be elected to the city council. He is also the first openly gay Black person ever to be elected to public office in Texas.
“I vow to be that leader who is going to be working hard every single day,” McKee-Rodriguez said to KSAT 12 after winning 63% of the votes.
The math teacher said he faced prejudice while working with Andrews-Sullivan because he was gay. He said this forced him to resign as the communications director in her administration in 2019.
All that did not stop people from going all out to support him during the recent elections, cementing his name in history. ”A lot of people said that District 2 wouldn’t be ready for a candidate like me. Would District 2 be ready for a young, gay candidate? Is Texas ready for a young, gay Black man to be elected anywhere to any position?”
He said his win means that the people are ready for a change and are ready to integrate as they should. “I’m excited to be passing the torch and provide a voice for young people because we’re not represented in several ways at City Hall and in our government locally and nationally. And so, I will not take that lightly either, “McKee-Rodriguez added.
The newly elected council member “vows to be that leader who is going to be working hard every single day” and he is starting by creating an equitable budget for San Antonio City.
“It is historic to see a Black, out and a proud gay candidate like Jalen McKee-Rodriguez be elected to the San Antonio City Council,” Robert Salcido Jr., executive director of Pride Center San Antonio, said in a statement to KSAT. “At a time when racism, homophobia, and other issues disproportionately affect people of color and LGBTQ+ people, Jalen will bring unique perspectives based on lived experiences never represented in San Antonio.
“Being the first openly gay Black man elected in San Antonio, the first openly gay Black man elected in Texas is a representation at its finest. It’s historic,” the statement added.
McKee-Rodriguez, before working with Andrews-Sullivan, served as a full-time volunteer tutor and mentor with City Year, an AmeriCorps program which supports the development, growth and success of students in systemically under-resourced schools. He also taught high school math for three years.
Although McKee-Rodriguez is the first openly gay man to be elected to City Council, Elena Guajardo was the first openly gay person elected to City Council in 2005, KSAT reported.