Community

County commissioners race draws third candidate

Julia Rodriguez, local Democrat, has announced her bid for Jefferson County Commissioner of precinct 2

A third candidate has announced their intent to represent Jefferson County residents living in Precinct 2.

Julia Rodriguez, a Port Neches resident, this weekend announced her intent to seek the seat alongside Jefferson County Security lieutenant Shaun Miller and Jack Brooks Regional Airport Manager Alex Rupp.

“I am a fresh perspective,” Rodriguez told The Enterprise. “I’m old enough to handle the rigors of being on the court yet young enough to bring a modern take to the court as a working-class woman.”

Rodriguez has been a resident of Southeast Texas since 2004. She graduated from Vidor High School in 2008 before going to Stephen F. Austin State University in Nacogdoches, where she graduated in 2011 with a Bachelor’s Degree in art.

Since then moving back to the area, she’s hosted a podcast on local politics, worked in the retail and restaurant industries, volunteered for the Beaumont Community Players and the Boomtown Film and Music Festival. Now, she is the Continuing Education Coordinator at Lamar Institute of Technology, where she helps prospective students gain needed certifications to secure better employment.

She says providing opportunities for local families is one of the priorities of her campaign as a local, progressive Democrat.

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“It is our duty as human beings, and certainly as leaders, to do what we can to lift up our neighbors, even if it causes discomfort,” she says on her website. “As county commissioner, I will uphold ideals aimed at uplifting all of my neighbors in equality and freedom.”

Other priorities include using “bold and unconventional” approaches to solve problems that plague the community, such as flooding, public services, COVID-19 relief and political disengagement, among others.

“We have faced increasingly worse weather over the last 15 years, particularly in flooding. Places that lifetime residents had never seen flood before now do flood,” she said. “A patch up job on the existing infrastructure isn’t going to cut it. I’m interested in researching radically different solutions from scientists and engineers.”

Rodriguez aims to be a commissioner who is accessible to the community, engaged in her work on the court and an energizing presence in local politics. She envisions a Jefferson County that is “united, inspired, and involved” — a county where there are resources that help residents work with city government, school boards, and other entities and where citizens are not apathetic but have easy access to the information and officials that will help them to improve the area.

“I want to see Commissioners and other local governmental bodies that are passionate about what they are doing,” Rodriguez said. “If you live in the county and not in an incorporated city, the services the county offers is all you have. So, a well-functioning county government builds up the community it serves, and the reverse is true as well.”

Written by rachel.kersey@beaumontenterprise.com

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