Sen. José Rodríguez, An El Paso Democrat, Announces His Retirement

By Cassandra Pollock and Patrick Svitek, Texas Tribune

State Sen. José Rodríguez, an El Paso Democrat, announced Friday that he will not seek reelection to the upper chamber in 2020.

Rodriguez informed El Paso colleagues of his decision in a text late Thursday night that was obtained by The Texas Tribune. He made the announcement official at his district office.

tate Sen. José Rodríguez’s district covers El Paso, Culberson, Hudspeth, Jeff Davis and Presidio counties. (Emree Weaver/The Texas Tribune)

“I started my tenure in the Senate with one of the worst budgets in the state’s modern history,” Rodríguez said in a written announcement on his retirement. “Fortunately, my last session was one where state leaders finally gave long overdue attention to our public schools.”

Rodríguez was first elected in 2010 to represent Senate District 29. The district, which hugs the Texas-Mexico border, is historically considered Democratic; it covers El Paso, Culberson, Hudspeth, Jeff Davis and Presidio counties.

The senator’s retirement announcement comes a day after the Senate Democratic Caucus announced that Rodríguez would step down as chair at the end of the year. State Sen. Carol Alvarado, D-Houston, will replace him at the post.

It’s unclear who will announce bids for Rodríguez’s seat. One potential candidate isstate Rep. César Blanco, a fellow El Paso Democrat who serves as chair of the House Democratic Campaign Committee.

After Rodriguez’s announcement, Blanco told the Tribune he had “been on the phone all day” receiving encouragement to run for the seat. He said he would take the next few days to hear out those who want him to run.

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