Jalen McKee-Rodriguez made history this weekend as the first out gay man to win a seat on the San Antonio City Council. The high school math teacher turned politician defeated incumbent Councilperson Jada Andrews-Sullivan with over 63 percent of the vote in a run-off election. He will represent District 2 on the city's east side.
"We did it!" McKee-Rodriguez posted to Instagram announcing his win.
"Would District 2 be ready for a young, gay candidate? Is Texas ready for a young, gay Black man to be elected anywhere into any position?" McKee-Rodriquez asked. "And, so I think what we proved and what the community proved is that everyone deserves representation. And if you have the right motives, if you have the right passions, and if you're a good listener, the people will trust that."
Local LGBTQ+ groups and leaders were quick to herald the historic nature of McKee-Rodriguez's win. In a statement to KSAT 12, Robert Salcido Jr., executive director of Pride Center San Antonio, noted the significance of the win against the backdrop of "racism, homophobia, and other issues that disproportionately affect people of color and LGBTQ+ people," adding he welcomed the "unique perspectives based on lived experiences" that McKee-Rodriguez will bring to the council chambers.
Although defeated in her reelection bid, Andrews-Sullivan congratulated her replacement and wished him the best.
While it was all smiles after the victory, some hard feelings did exist between McKee-Rodriguez and Andrews-Sullivan in the past. The former math teacher at Sam Houston High School had worked for Andrews-Sullivan but resigned in 2019, claiming retaliation after he complained of inappropriate treatment from a fellow staffer. Andrews-Sullivan denied the claims. McKee-Rodriguez also claimed some pastors in the district told their church members a vote for him was a vote for sin, something the pastors denied.
Regardless of the claims of the past, McKee-Rodriguez was looking to the future and serving his district following his victory on Saturday.
"I vow to be the leader who is going to be working hard every single day," he told KSAT 12.