Former Rowdy the Roadrunner, Jalen McKee-Rodriguez, is currently flying high as one of the Candidates for District 2 San Antonio City Council. If elected, the 25-year-old, biracial, military- brat, math teacher would be the first millennial and openly gay councilmen.
Eight years ago, McKee-Rodriguez moved to San Antonio to start his academic career at UTSA, where he would receive his Bachelors in Communication. The former Rowdy the Roadrunner is still an active UTSA ‘Runner as he is currently working on his Masters in Educational Leadership.
In addition to serving as Rowdy the Roadrunner from 2013 to 2016, McKee-Rodriguez was also a member of Omega Delta Phi, a multicultural fraternity, The Filipino Student Association, and Spectrum. His participation in these on-campus organizations eventually led to him being elected President of the Multicultural Greek Council and the Executive Director of Student Organization while at UTSA.
“UTSA definitely opened a lot of doors for me by having all of these organizations and by promoting diversity and inclusion,” said McKee-Rodriguez.
McKee-Rodriguez explained with the greatest fondness how his experiences in various student organizations cultivated his leadership and desire for community collaboration.
“Through my time being involved, there was always an emphasis on collaboration with other groups. It was super exciting to be able to work with groups that even though I wasn’t a member of I still felt this sense of family and community. We all had this shared interest in philanthropy and service.”
After receiving his Bachelors in Communication, McKee-Rodriguez served as the Director of Communication for Councilwoman Andrew-Sulivan from June to December of 2019.
During our interview, he explained his motivation for seeking to unseat his former boss, District 2 councilwoman Jada Andrews-Sullivan.
“Jada’s chief of staff would regularly make very homophobic comments about my hair and clothes,” said McKee-Rodriguez. “When I brought my concerns to Jada I faced retaliation. My office was suddenly moved across town and I was stripped of many of my job duties. I want to make sure no one else is subjected to this again and this (running for City council) is one way I knew I could accomplish that.”
During my interview with McKee-Rodriguez, he explained what he loves about politics.
“I really love people and politics is a way to connect people and issues,” said McKee-Rodriguez. “City council is where policy meets people and I’ll be a councilman who recognizes that.”
McKee-Rodriguez went on to describe his motivation for running.
“I believe we deserve regular working-class people representing us,” said Jalen McKee-Rodriguez. “People who feel the impact of the decision they make. As someone who makes a teacher salary and as a member of a marginalized community, I will feel the impact of every decision I make.”
Out of the 59 challengers in the city council race this year, McKee-Rodriguez has out-fundraised all of the challengers but one. He raised $17,584 in a span of six weeks from 423 donors.
McKee-Rodriguez has been able to gain several notable backers, including H. Drew Galloway, the outgoing executive director of MOVE Texas, former council candidate Michael Montaño and former West Side council staffer (and current community activist) Jennifer Falcon.
McKee-Rodriguez encourages college students to get involved in politics now and claim their seats at the table.
“People our age are standing up and making the choice to run and we aren’t doing it to make a statement,” said Jalen McKee-Rodriguez. “We are doing it to win and to be our own voice. This is our time. There is a place in politics for millennials right now.”
You can learn more about Jalen McKee-Rodriguez’s campaign and get involved by going to his campaign website: https://votejalen.com/.