Justin Rodriguez leaving Texas House after being appointed Bexar County commissioner

The San Antonio Democrat was selected to replace Bexar County Commissioner Paul Elizondo, who died last week.

State Rep. Justin Rodriguez, D-San Antonio, during a hearing held by the Interim Committee on Higher Education Formula Funding in Austin on Feb. 21, 2018.

State Rep. Justin Rodriguez, D-San Antonio, is leaving the Legislature to become a Bexar County commissioner.

The county's judge, Nelson Wolff, appointed Rodriguez on Friday to replace Paul Elizondo, the longtime commissioner who died last week. The appointment creates a vacancy in Rodriguez's House District 125, paving the way for a special election to finish his term.

Rodriguez was immediately sworn after Wolff announced the appointment at a news conference.

"I wanted someone that had the confidence of the citizens and voters of County Commissioner Precinct 2," Wolff said, alluding to Rodriguez's long record of public service in the area. "Justin Rodriguez has certainly exemplified that in a very important way."

Rodriguez was first elected to the House in 2012. He previously served on the San Antonio City Council.

Elizondo, a local political icon, died unexpectedly on Dec. 27 at age 83. His funeral was Thursday morning.

"I'm going to do the best to live up to his legacy," Rodriguez said at the news conference, pledging to continue projects that Elizondo was working on before his death.

The special election for Rodriguez's seat would be the fourth such contest since the November elections. State Rep. Carol Alvarado, D-Houston, won the special election last month to replace former state Sen. Sylvia Garcia, D-Houston — now a congresswoman — while Gov. Greg Abbott has set Jan. 29 special elections to fill the seats of Alvarado and state Rep. Joe Pickett, D-El Paso, who is resigning due to health issues.

The 86th legislative session begins Tuesday, and Rodriguez said he was confident his seat would be filled before the session kicks into high gear in March. He told reporters he did not have a preference for who should succeed him.