An avowed democratic socialist, Rodriguez took office in 2019 with no prior political experience but quickly began advancing a bold progressive agenda. The ordinance she introduced in September 2020 calling for the creation of a crisis response system to divert certain emergency calls — especially those tied to homelessness, substance abuse, and mental health issues — to social workers, nurses, and EMTs and away from the city’s overtaxed police force resulted in a $1.3 million pilot program. She led a much-publicized aldermanic rebellion decrying a lack of progressive initiatives in the mayor’s budget, and in November she wrote an open letter urging the Biden administration to avoid giving an appointment to former mayor Rahm Emanuel, whom she called “a craven egomaniac with a legacy of destruction.”