Robert was born in New Mexico to his father Mannie and Corrine Rodriguez. He moved to Colorado at the age of four and grew up in a working-class Denver suburb, where his family instilled in him the meaning of community.
“Growing up, I would hear stories about my father, who grew up picking vegetables, and think, ‘America is really is the place where anything is possible.'”
Raised on moderate income and attending public schools, Robert and his sisters were taught that hard work would pave the way to opportunity. His father Mannie, a former Marine, was a substance abuse counselor for veterans, and his mother Corinne was a telephone operator.
His family stressed the importance of community and public service. In Robert’s teenage years, his father opened up facilities that provide substance abuse and mental health counseling, employment support, and housing for criminal offenders working to re-enter society.
The Rodriguez family was politically active. From childhood, Robert would walk precincts and participate in the civil rights movement among the Colorado Latino community, learning about the political system and watching the process in action.
A Different Path
Robert did not obtain a college degree. Rather, he worked his way up from a file room to senior analyst in the insurance industry. He also worked odd jobs as a laborer.
“These kinds of opportunities do not exist for young people today. Without a college degree, you can’t even get past the HR department. But what does that say to our youth when we tell them they must take on tens of thousands of dollars in debt just to be able to survive?”
Robert and his wife Deidre settled in the Virginia Village neighborhood twenty years ago, where they live with their two dogs and two cats.
Robert joined his family’s small business in 2008, with the goal of working within the criminal justice system to reform it.
“Most of these individuals grew up with a deck stacked against them. But it doesn’t have to be that way. If we invest in our neighborhoods and put kids and families first, they will thrive.”
He continued to volunteer on issue and candidate campaigns, focusing on topics such as immigration reform, social justice, and heathcare. Robert began his launch for State Senate District 32 in May of 2017.
“Why I’m Running” by Robert Rodriguez