Mayor Jonathan Rothschild highlighted the strides Tucson has made during his tenure as mayor while giving his last State of the City speech Friday afternoon.
“My vision for Tucson — the vision I’ve shared with you and worked on these past seven years — includes economic development, responsive government, environmental stewardship and commitment to our people, especially those who need help,” he said.
Rothschild went over many accomplishments he was proud to see the city through, speaking to a full house at the Tucson Convention Center. Here are a few highlights:
Tucson has seen lots of growth in the private and economic sector including the arrival of companies like Amazon and the expansion of businesses, nonprofits and health providers like GEICO, Casa de los Niños and El Rio Health. Rothschild said with groundbreakings like Caterpillar and The Monier, “downtown and the west side have really taken off.”
Tucson has made progress in what Rothschild calls the “Five T’s of our local economy”: technology, trade, transportation, tourism and teaching. One highlight in the technology and tourism realms is the Binational Health Alliance, which is promoting medical tourism to the region.
In transportation, propositions 409 and 101 are voter-approved road-improvement initiatives that Rothschild considers victories for Tucson taxpayers. The other aspect of Proposition 101 is funding for public safety upgrades.
As well, Proposition 407, passed last year, will enhance Tucson parks along with pedestrian and bike routes. Rothschild said this takes the city from fulfilling its needs to “needs plus wants.”
Rothschild highlighted some of the community gains he’s overseen during his two terms as mayor, including gains in affordable housing, helping veterans age in place and the return of the Pathway to Purchase program, providing down-payment assistance in targeted ZIP codes in the city and county.
He said economic development should go hand in hand with improving people’s lives.
“That’s why city government should be involved in helping businesses thrive — businesses that pay a living wage — because they bring jobs that support families, and because they bring revenue that pays for city services,” he said.
With nine months left in his term, Rothschild said he still has things to get done, and he intends to “leave it all out on the field.”