The Tucson City Council bid farewell to a long-time member on Tuesday, as three-term Councilwoman Karin Uhlich stepped down after serving for 12 years.

The Ward 3 Democrat said while she is leaving public office, she will continue to be involved in the community, including in her capacity as the director of housing administration for Cenpatico Integrated Care.

Mayor Jonathan Rothschild said Uhlich has been a tireless advocate for affordable housing and transportation issues and will be missed on the council.

“Her career has been one of dedication to those living in poverty, those living with the affliction of mental illness, and others who society often leaves behind,” Rothschild said. “Her civility, her warmth and her intelligence will be missed, but I am certain that she’ll continue to serve the people of Tucson in her current role at Cenpatico, and in whatever other directions life takes her.”

Fellow council members credit Uhlich for helping stave off deep cuts in the city’s housing programs during the Great Recession several years ago.

Councilman Richard Fimbres said Uhlich helped stretched federal dollars as far as she could during the lean years of the recession.

Uhlich remained humble on Tuesday saying there were many in the community working to keep local affordable and public housing programs operating despite their reliance on federal funding. She said the Tucson community understands how important these programs are to struggling families.

“People understand that homelessness creates a lot of suffering and stress on the community as a whole than just providing people a safe place to live,” she said.

During her three terms in office, Uhlich pushed her fellow council members to introduce impact fees for new developments.

She said the council hadn’t considered it before she was elected, and that while the amounts would be debated, most developers understood it was the cost of building in the community.

Just hours before her last meeting, Uhlich said she had hoped the redevelopment of the city-owned Ronstadt Transit Center downtown would be further along but acknowledged that part of the delay is related to federal oversight.

Vice Mayor Regina Romero said Uhlich has served the community well for the past 12 years.

“Her thoughtful approach and commitment to working families have made her a strong and critical voice of the Tucson council. We are losing an experienced, knowledgeable, and wise perspective — she is a true, selfless public servant. She will be deeply missed by us all,” Romero said.

Attorney Paul Durham, elected to a four-year term earlier this month, will be sworn into office at the next month’s council meeting and will take Uhlich’s seat.

Contact reporter Joe Ferguson at or 573-4197. On Twitter: @JoeFerguson


Reporter with the Arizona Daily Star. I cover politics as well as the city of Tucson and other municipalities in Southern Arizona.