By Romi Carrell Wittman –
2018 Father of the Year Honoree
Tucson Mayor Jonathan Rothschild’s fatherly pride is evident when he talks about his children Isaac, Nathan and Molly. It probably doesn’t hurt that all three have followed in the family’s career footsteps.
Isaac and Nathan are attorneys at Mesch Clark Rothschild, the law firm founded in 1957 by their grandfather, Lowell Rothschild. Daughter, Molly, is currently attending the James E. Rogers College of Law at the University of Arizona.
“We’re three for three,” Rothschild joked. “My wife says we’re zero for three.”
Karen, Rothschild’s wife, is a physical therapist. They’ve been married 38 years.
Rothschild learned he was named a 2018 Father of the Year by the Father’s Day Council Tucson when his sons summoned him to their law office in late January under the guise of an important meeting. “They told me something had to be discussed,” Rothschild said. However, when he walked into the conference room and saw his wife as well as his daughter-in-law in attendance, he knew something was up.
“I was very surprised,” he said of the moment they told him. “I was surprised and very appreciative.”
Rothschild has served as mayor of Tucson since 2011. Prior to that, he worked at MCR for more than 30 years, specializing in business law and estate planning.
Rothschild’s roots in Tucson run very, very deep. He’s one of the rarest of desert dwellers – he’s a native Tucsonan. He attended Canyon Del Oro High School back when it served grades 7 through 12. He was among the first students to attend all six grades at the school.
He later attended Kenyon College in Ohio, then the University of New Mexico Law School. After earning his law degree, he returned to Tucson and served as a law clerk for District Court Judge Alfredo C. Marquez. Later, he went into private practice at MCR.
Rothschild enjoys being a father and, more recently, a grandfather to each of his sons’ young boys, Ezra and Zev. “When you have a child, it changes everything,” he said. “If you’re doing it right, it brings mom and dad closer together because you’re making these decisions together.”
He especially enjoyed raising his children in Tucson. “One of the great things about raising a family here is there are a lot of great communities and things for young people to do.”
When asked, Rothschild doesn’t have a single favorite memory of raising his kids. He said his favorite experiences were when his kids surprised him with their maturity and grounded approach to problems. “It’s great when they show maturity and an emotional intelligence greater than your own,” he said.
Rothschild always prioritized his family because he knew that his time with them was precious. While he had kicked around the idea of running for office, he tabled those plans until his youngest child was out of high school. “It was important to me to be involved with them from a young age until they didn’t want that anymore,” he said with a smile. “Spending time with them is the most important thing. You don’t get that much time before they grow up.”
Rothschild’s family wasn’t entirely on board when he decided to run for mayor. His mother had concerns about the ugly nature of politics and worried for his safety. His father, knowing Jonathan was a very skilled and accomplished attorney, didn’t want him to give up his law career. But Rothschild’s desire to serve and better the community ultimately won out. He is currently in his second term as mayor.
Having grown up when Tucson was still a modest city of 300,000 residents, Rothschild loves that Tucson and its economy have grown enough that his children are able to live and work here. “One of the great joys of life is having your family near you,” he said.