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Rodriguez seeks re-election as county assessor

August 27, 2001|By LAURA MITCHELL, Staff Writer

County Assessor Jose M. Rodriguez Jr. hopes to continue bringing his old-fashioned values and high-tech thinking to Imperial County.

Rodriguez recently announced his candidacy for the county assessor office in the March 2002 primary election.

He was appointed to the position in 1999 and became the first Hispanic county assessor in the state.

Rodriguez worked his way up to the top of the office. He was hired by the assessor's office right out of Imperial Valley College and has worked there for 37 years.

He had been assistant assessor for 13 years when former county assessor Michael Smith resigned on Dec. 14, 1999. Smith recommended Rodriguez as his replacement. The county Board of Supervisors appointed Rodriguez on Dec. 15 and he took the oath of office Dec. 16.

Before being appointed as the county assessor, he served on the Calexico Unified School Board for 17 years and on the Calexico City Council for four years.

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He was a coach, president and commissioner for Pop Warner football over a span of 10 years and a Little League manager for four years.

He is still active on the fundraising committee at Our Lady of Guadalupe Catholic Church in Calexico.

He and his wife, Gloria, have been married since 1965 and have one son.

Rodriguez said he believes in the old-fashioned values of hard work, commitment and community service but that doesn't mean he won't look to the future.

"I'm always looking for ways to do the job better," Rodriguez said. "We can make the job easier and more productive with technology. Information can be right at our fingertips."

Rodriguez is a member of the county's GIS committee that will help to make electronic maps easier to update and access for all county departments and the public.

His department is in the process of making electronic images of older documents and putting them on compact disks to save office space.

His department recently received a state loan for $231,000 to upgrade computer equipment.

"The state loaned us the money with the understanding that we will use it to produce more revenue," Rodriguez said. "We don't have to pay back the loan if we meet the goals set forth in the loan application."

"In the application you have to say how you will give the value of the loan back," Rodriguez explained. "I talked to my staff and got a commitment from them that they would produce a certain amount of work in order to get new equipment."

Rodriguez said he gives a lot of credit to his staff. With their help and commitment to hard work, he was able to get faster computers for the office.

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