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About Joe Rodriguez

I’ll start by answering the first question most people ask me: Why are you running?

Short story is, last year I was driving home from my parents’ house when I saw a really bad accident on McCarran. One car had rolled onto its side by the median, and a woman was trapped inside. I pulled my car into a protective position so no one could hit those cars again, made sure 911 had been called, and went to check on the woman. She was stuck and couldn’t really get out on her own.


I knew from my years of experience as a firefighter and police officer that I shouldn’t try to pull her out unless there was a pressing reason to, like a fire was about to start. Too many bad things are possible if you pull someone out before you have emergency vehicles and gear there. I didn’t smell any gas, nor did she appear to need CPR or other immediate medical care. On top of that, we were basically down the street from one city fire station and not far from another county station. So I waited, talking to the woman to help her remain calm and ensure she was still doing fine.

And I waited. And waited. And waited. Finally, after about 14 minutes, I didn’t feel like I could wait any longer. We broke out her windshield and helped her out of the vehicle. Luckily, she was okay.

However, this experience mirrored too many stories and experiences I’d heard from my fellow public safety officers and that I’d experienced myself. Our public safety faces a lack of resources and a lack of regional cooperation.

I have dedicated my life to protecting our community, state, and country, from serving in the military to working as a firefighter and police officer. Today, I continue to work in public safety and cherish my current role as your school board trustee, where I’m proud of the strides we have made to improve the safety and security in our schools. At the same time, I see a serious failure of leadership in my hometown of Sparks that has caused turbulence at the top of our fire services and held back badly-needed public safety improvements. I know my public safety experience is needed to get our city back on the right track to protect our community, and put people first.

Personal Background

My wife Sarah and I have four children. Our three youngest children are part of the Washoe County School District.

Sarah works as a nurse. I’m incredibly proud of the work she does, which includes volunteering by coordinating fundraisers for several veterans organizations like the Veterans Guest House, Honor Flight, and Blue Star Moms.

We both volunteer and participate in Wreaths Across America in support of our veterans. I have volunteered as a Boy Scouts’ Den Leader and been both a volunteer firefighter and a Red Cross volunteer. I served on the Sparks Citizens Advisory Committee and am a member of the Veterans of Foreign Wars and American Legion.

As a family, we enjoy the variety of recreational areas that Northern Nevada has to offer. Some of our favorites are Virginia City, Lake Tahoe, and Pyramid Lake. We’ve gone camping throughout Northern Nevada, fished in our lakes and rivers, off-roaded at the Moon Rocks, and enjoyed responsible recreational shooting on our public lands. We love to go zombie shooting at Andelin Farms and attend our children’s many, many sporting events.

Professional Background

My “day job” is a privilege, since I serve as your Assistant State Fire Marshal, where I oversee daily operations for the division. This includes everything from budgeting to testifying before the legislature.

Previously, I served in the Nevada National Guard for 11 years, including multiple tours of service (Afghanistan and Haiti). I’ve worked more than 20 years in public safety in Nevada. I’ve worked as a wildland firefighter, volunteer firefighter, and law enforcement officer, with experience as a frontline public safety officer, investigator, and then sergeant and bureau chief. I’ve also earned degrees in Criminal Justice and Fire Science.

I currently serve on the Board of Trustees for the Washoe County School District. I’m extremely proud of the work we’ve done to improve safety, give teachers much-needed raises, and increase vocational education opportunities.

Contact Me

Reach out to me any time – I’d love to hear from you.


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