Steven R. Rothman (born October 14, 1952) is a former Democratic elected official from the state of New Jersey. He was a U.S. Representative for New Jersey's 9th Congressional District, serving from January 3, 1997, to January 3, 2013. After the December 23, 2011 Congressional redistricting was announced, Rothman competed in a Democratic Primary to continue to represent the redrawn NJ-9. He was defeated on June 5, 2012, in a primary election by fellow incumbent Bill Pascrell (formerly the Congressman for NJ-8).
In Congress, Rothman was a member of the powerful House Appropriations Committee, which recommends the allocation of all the funds in the federal budget. During the course of his 16 years in Congress, Rothman also served on the House Judiciary; Foreign Affairs; and Science and Technology Committees. Prior to his election to the U. S. Congress, Rothman also served as the elected Bergen County Surrogate Court Judge, and the two-term Mayor of the City of Englewood, New Jersey.
Rothman is licensed to practice law in New Jersey and New York. He started his career as a trial attorney in Jersey City and then owned and operated his own law office for the general practice of law in Englewood, NJ, before beginning his public career.
|Member of the U.S. House of Representatives|
from New Jersey's 9th district
January 3, 1997 – January 3, 2013
|Preceded by||Robert G. Torricelli|
|Succeeded by||William J. Pascrell|
|Mayor of Englewood, New Jersey|
|Preceded by||Sondra Greenberg|
|Succeeded by||Donald Aronson|
|Born||October 14, 1952|
Englewood, New Jersey, U.S.
|Residence||Englewood, New Jersey, U.S.|
|Alma mater||Syracuse University, Washington University School of Law|
Rothman was born on October 14, 1952, in Englewood, New Jersey, to Philip and Muriel Rothman; he and his twin Arthur joined an older sister Susan. Steve attended the Roosevelt Public Elementary School in Englewood until the fifth grade when the family moved to nearby Tenafly, where he completed his education in the Tenafly Public School System.
Rothman graduated in 1970 from Tenafly High School, where he was senior class president, Best School Citizen, was first clarinet, first chair in the Tenafly High School Orchestra, was a member of the Tenafly High School Madrigal Singers, played the lead in Tenafly High School's drama Twelve Angry Men, wrestled, played soccer and tennis. He was a freestyle and backstroke swimmer in a New Jersey Jewish Community Center swim league and completed his Water Safety Instructor Certificate in 1971.
In his senior year in high school, Rothman became the chair of the 18-Year-Old Vote Campaign for Tenafly, New Jersey, seeking to secure the New Jersey legislature's support for the proposed 26th Amendment to the U.S. Constitution, ensuring 18-year-old U.S. citizens the right to vote.
In 1974 he earned a B.A. Degree from Syracuse University, where he majored in political philosophy. In 1972 he was selected by a student-faculty-administrator search committee to serve on the University's student supreme court (University Judicial Board) for his sophomore, junior and senior years. He was elected Chief Justice of the UJB by its members for 1973-74.
While at Syracuse, Rothman was lead singer in a folk-rock music group named "Sweet Rock."
From 1974 to 1977 Rothman attended the Washington University School of Law in St. Louis, Missouri, where he was awarded a Juris Doctor degree in 1977.
In each of his three years at law school, Rothman was a High School Law Project member, teaching a course he wrote on the "U.S. Constitution and Bill of Rights" to urban and suburban high school students in the St. Louis City and Metropolitan area. In 1975, Rothman won the "Best Oralist" Award in the Washington University School of Law Moot Court Competition. In 1976, Rothman and his partner Gerald Kline placed first among twelve teams representing six law schools at the Eighth Circuit Regional Moot Court Regional Competition in Rapid City, South Dakota, also winning "Best Brief."
Rothman was admitted to the New Jersey Bar in 1977 and became a practicing New Jersey Attorney. In 1982, he was admitted to practice law also in New York. In 1984 he was admitted to practice law before the U.S. Supreme Court.
Steven Rothman was greatly influenced by his father, Philip Rothman (1922-2012), whom he describes as his greatest teacher. Philip Rothman was born on the Lower East Side of Manhattan to Polish immigrant parents, and practiced his Judaism in his commitment to ethical action. Although his formal education did not go beyond high school, Philip Rothman educated himself in many areas and became a highly successful industrial builder. He valued family, hard work and integrity. His moral code was incorruptible. Having lived through the time of the Holocaust, he experienced hatred and violence in his Astoria, New York neighborhood, where there were Nazi Bund rallies and he had to fight his way to and from school. He despised injustice and championed the little guy. His life's credo was "Justice for Everyone." He was not only a philanthropist, but a mentor and supporter of many struggling, hardworking individuals.
Richard Sheffield (1937-2012), a political and civil rights activist in the Teaneck, New Jersey area, was a United Auto Workers Union leader in The Ford Plant in Mahwah, New Jersey, as well as Special Adviser to U.S. Senator Bill Bradley and NJ State Senate President Matthew Feldman.
Jack Drakeford (1937-2012) held a variety of positions in Englewood, New Jersey: Firefighter, city council president, city clerk, city labor negotiator, city manager, and school board president.
Rothman started his legal career as a trial associate at the firm of Miller, Hochman, Myerson and Schaeffer, Esqs. in Jersey City, New Jersey in 1977. In January 1980, he started his own firm for the general practice law in Englewood in a two-room office over a barber shop on Depot Square. In 1977, Rothman moved his residence from Tenafly to Englewood. At that time Englewood was a city of approximately 26,000 people of varied races, ethnicities, religions and cultures, housing people of every socio-economic group in the New York Metropolitan area.
Rothman became active in Englewood community affairs, serving as President of the Scarborough Manor Tenants' Association, where he performed pro bono legal services for the poor and elderly faced with eviction following condominium conversion. He also was the co-founder of the Englewood Hispanic Lion's Club and a member of the United Jewish Community of Bergen County and member of the Board of Governors of the Jewish County Center on the Palisades.
Politically, he was Campaign Coordinator for various Englewood City Council-member races as well as a member of the Englewood Democratic Club, the Englewood Democratic Municipal Committee, the Bergen County Young Democrats, and the New Jersey Young Democrats. He held the office of Treasurer for the Bergen County Democratic Party, for State Senator Matthew Feldman, as well as for various Bergen County Democratic Freeholder (county legislature) campaigns.
Rothman was appointed by the Englewood Mayor and Council to the Englewood Zoning Board of Adjustment and the Englewood Environmental Commission.
In 1982, at the age of 29, Rothman ran for and won the city's Democratic Party nomination to be Englewood's Mayor. Rothman was also endorsed by the Englewood Black Clergy Council and the Englewood Patrolman's Benevolent Association (the first time those two organizations had ever endorsed the same candidate for mayor). He won the Democratic Primary and the November 1982 General Elections. At his January 1983 swearing in, he was 30 years old. He remains the youngest mayor in Englewood's history.
Rothman served two terms, from 1983 to 1989, and effected a renaissance of the city: Reducing the city's crime rate; lowering the city's tax rate; taking the city from bankruptcy to a five million dollar surplus; and devising, fighting for, and realizing change in the municipal aid formula from Bergen County that resulted in more than $400,000 in additional county funds for Englewood; raising the city's bond rating to the highest in Bergen County and the highest in Englewood since 1938; fixing the city's school buildings and classrooms; and realizing private development and public-private projects, all within the city's low-rise, tree-lined, residential character.
He led the effort to replace all damaged and destroyed city trees and for better neighborhood compliance with property maintenance codes; he vetoed the City Council's efforts to have residents pay to replace private sidewalks damaged by City trees; and he answered the concerned letters and phone calls of thousands of Englewood residents.
Among the new and reconfigured structures established in Englewood during Rothman's tenure were 339 residential townhouses on the former golf course, more than 50 other residential townhouses throughout the community; 30 low-rise office buildings along the Grand-Engle, Dean Street corridors; a 200-room hotel; a revitalized Downtown (with new street paving, sidewalks, street trees, curbs, lighting, store façade and railroad crossing improvements and other amenities).
Also, Rothman led the effort to attract a new supermarket and other needed stores and facilities to a blighted section of Englewood's downtown. Rothman proposed and helped shepherd a $22 million public-private partnership for the portion of the West Street area in need of redevelopment, just across the railroad tracks that divided Englewood's downtown. The project was an enormous success that opened up that side of Englewood and drew shoppers from all over Englewood and surrounding communities.
Norman Davis, Former Englewood City Council President, Englewood School Board President, Englewood Economic Development Corporation President and Englewood Historical Society President described "...the revitalization of Englewood under Mayor Steven Rothman in the 1980's. . ." as effectuating one of the most significant and important changes in Englewood's history.
Robert Benecke, Englewood's Chief Financial Officer when Rothman took over, and a Republican, commended Rothman's "hard-nosed,let's-get-the-job-done" management style in dealing with the city's challenges.
As Mayor, Rothman evidenced a strong commitment to education. During his first three months of office in 1983, he visited every public and some private school classrooms in Englewood from kindergarten to senior classes in high school. As Chairman of the Englewood Board of School Estimate, his personal negotiations led to the sale of the long-vacant Engle Street School for $1.1 million in 1984. Nearly all of the proceeds were used for immediate Englewood public school classroom repairs and maintenance throughout the school district. $160,000.00 of the monies were used to double the number of the adjacent Englewood Library's parking spaces, provide much-need Library storage space in the basement of the School, make long-anticipated renovations to the Library and supplemented the Library's book acquisition fund. In 1987, Rothman, proposed a plan to fund $4.3 million in capital funding improvements to Englewood's public school buildings over five years by taking ownership of the long-vacant Roosevelt School, auctioning the school for residential condominiums, and giving the sales proceeds to the Englewood Board of Education. The school was sold and the five-year plan was funded and implemented.
During his time as Mayor, Rothman also established and funded The Mayor's Wedding Scholarship Fund for graduating seniors at Dwight Morrow High School. Monies for the Fund came from donations as well as the $10 fee Mayor Rothman charged (to those who could pay) to perform each of the more than 400 civil marriages (about a third of which were in Spanish) he officiated at during his six years as Mayor.
In his tenure as Mayor, Rothman was a strong supporter of civil rights. Having spoken and lobbied for the passage of a federal law to make the birthday of Martin Luther King, Jr. a national holiday, Rothman was an annual guest speaker at Englewood's Ebenezer Baptist Church on King's birthday from 1982 through 2016, as well as on many other occasions. On May 21, 1983, Mayor Rothman presented the key to the City of Englewood to civil rights icon Rosa Parks. In October 1988 he presented a key to the City to the legendary musical artist Ray Charles.
In 1985, Rothman nominated and the City Council approved Jack C. Drakeford to be Englewood's City Manager. Drakeford was the first African-American City Manager in Englewood and New Jersey's history.
In March 1987, a group of delegates from the Soviet Union, sponsored by Bridges for Peace, met with 400 Englewood third, fourth and fifth graders. Mayor Rothman told the students that human rights are important to citizens of the United States, citing American opposition to apartheid in South Africa and the support of religious freedom for Jews in the Soviet Union. Presenting the key to the City of Englewood to one of the Russian delegates, he said that [Americans] long for the day when our friends in the Soviet Union have the same rights and freedoms we have.
In December 1982, just before the start of Rothman's first mayoral term, the Libyan government bought a five-acre estate "on the hill" in Englewood. There was widespread community concern that Col. Mohmmar Kaddafi, an internationally- acknowledged terrorist and the dictator of Libya, a country with which the U.S. did not have diplomatic relations at the time, would take up part-time residence at the Englewood mansion and thus precipitate violent conflict in Englewood between his supporters and opponents.
Just days before Rothman was to be sworn in as the new Mayor, one of Englewood's former mayors, The Reverend Walter Taylor, who was also the Minister of The Galilee United Methodist Church in Englewood and the President of the Englewood Black Clergy Council, held a press conference at the United Nations Press Club and denounced "self-styled Zionists" who were seeking to keep Libyans out of Englewood. Taylor described this as a "question of Jewish influence." The next night, at the January 1983 Mayor and Council Reorganization Meeting, the other leaders of the Englewood Black Clergy Council denounced Taylor, and the Englewood Black Clergy Council appeared at the meeting to publicly disassociate themselves from Taylor's comments.
After he was sworn in, Rothman went to Washington, D.C. to lobby the Reagan State Department to use the newly enacted "Foreign Missions Act" to restrict the use of the estate to the Libyan Ambassador to the United Nations and his family. In June 1983, the Foreign Missions Office of the State Department announced its decision to implement the "Act" by limiting use of the property to strictly residential and recreational purposes for the Ambassador and his immediate family. It forbade any other use of the estate by the Libyan government.
In the summer of 2009, in advance of the U.N. General Assembly Meeting, it was discovered that Kaddafi was significantly renovating the Englewood mansion and grounds to be used as one of his homes. Rothman, at that time the U.S. Congressman for the 9th Congressional District of New Jersey, which included Englewood, worked with the Obama State Department to continue the 1983 conditions for the Libyan government's use of the Englewood estate. Renovations ceased and Kaddafi never set foot on the Englewood property.
In 1984, Rothman led the effort to save the regional Community Mental Health Organization (CMHO), a state and county-funded agency located in Englewood that served 180,000 people, disproportionately Englewood residents, in the area. He organized a successful fundraising effort by eleven Bergen County mayors after they had been notified that state and county support was being threatened by a $200,000 shortfall in CMHO accounting. Rothman helped the CMHO achieve sustained state and county support and promoted a change of private managers, making it part of another county mental health agency while it remained in the same Englewood building.
May 19, 1985, Rothman was sworn in as the new President of the Bergen County Democratic Mayors Association.
Rothman announced in 1988 that he would not seek a third term so that he could devote more time to family and his private law practice.
Rothman and his first wife had two children, John and Karen. His subsequent marriage also ended in divorce. Rothman now resides in Englewood, NJ.
Rothman continued his general practice of law in Englewood, expanding his offices and staff.
In 1989, Rothman ran unsuccessfully as one of three Democratic candidates to fill three openings on the Bergen County Board of Chosen Freeholders (the county legislature). Bergen County was the largest county in New Jersey with 850,00 people. Rothman lost the election by less than 2,000 votes.
In 1989, Rothman was appointed Chairman of the Jewish Community Relations Council of Northern New Jersey (JCRC). In 1991, Rothman hosted 500 Christians, Jews, Muslims, Bahais and Sikhs for the 5th Annual Brotherhood/Sisterhood Interfaith Breakfast, sponsored by the JCRC.
In 1990 and 1991, Rothman served as Treasurer of the respective Bergen County Democratic Party Freeholder races.
In 1990 and 1991, Rothman was also active in local affairs, joining the Wyckoff Democratic Municipal Committee and serving as its Chairman. During that time, he also served as Campaign Manager for Jack Van Horne for Wyckoff Township Council. He and his wife were also members of "Wyckoff Partners In Pride," a community beautification committee of volunteers.
In 1992, Rothman ran for and was chosen by the Bergen County Democratic Party to be their candidate for the elected position of Bergen County Surrogate Court Judge. Under New Jersey law, each of the state's twenty-one counties, including Bergen County (its most populous) is required to elect a Judge of the Surrogate's Court who is responsible, among other duties, for the probating and administering of the estates of all that county's residents. Rothman won the General Election in November 1992, becoming the first attorney to serve in that position in the 148 years the position had been an elected one.
During Rothman's administration, he provided the Bergen County Surrogate's Office with uniformly modern computers, which enabled a 55% increase in cases processed while reducing the number of employees by 10% through attrition. He facilitated improved access to the public by adding office phone lines and making the public documents on file in the Surrogate's Court more available by computerizing indexes and expanding availability. As Surrogate, among other personnel changes, his first hire there was an Hispanic college graduate, the first Hispanic or Spanish-speaking member of the Bergen County Surrogate's Court in history.
In March 1995, Rothman wrote and had published an 18-page booklet entitled "The Three Legal Documents Recommended For Every Bergen County Adult,"which dealt with the operations of the Bergen County Surrogate's Court, probate, self-proving wills, living wills, and durable powers of attorney. Approximately 23,000 booklets were published and distributed, in English and Spanish. Rothman conducted more than 100 seminars on wills, living wills, probate and powers of attorney, speaking directly to over 10, 000 Bergen County residents.
Rothman also invested over $75 million in assets for minors who received settlements or judgments in Bergen County. During his three years in office, his federally-insured investments realized the highest rate of return of any surrogate in the state.
In a district that was 90 percent non-Jewish, with no Jewish House members then representing New Jersey, Rothman was elected the first Jewish-American House member in the history of the Ninth Congressional District.
He was reelected to that seat seven more times.
In 1996, incumbent Democrat U.S. Representative Robert G.Torricelli of New Jersey's Ninth Congressional District decided to run for the United States Senate that was being vacated by Bill Bradley, creating a vacancy in the House seat. Rothman was encouraged by Democratic leaders and laypeople to run for the seat. However, the New Jersey Supreme Court required him to step down from his position as the Judge of the Bergen County Surrogate's Court in order to be a candidate.Thus, in January 1996, he resigned as Bergen County Surrogate to run for the 9th Congressional District House seat. In June 1996, Rothman prevailed in the Democratic Party Primary to be their candidate in the General Election for Congress.
In the General Election, Rothman defeated Republican County Clerk and Chairperson of the Port Authority of New York and New Jersey, Kathleen Donovan, 56.6%-42.2%, with two independent candidates taking up the remainder of the vote.
Rothman won reelection to a second term, defeating Mayor Steve Lonegan of Bogota, New Jersey 64.6%-33.8%, with three independent candidates receiving less than 2% of the vote. He was endorsed for re-election by The Record newspaper, the largest daily in the 9th Congressional District and the second largest in the state, which said that Rothman "has done a good job in representing his district's voters. . . . [The] race. . .is about who would best serve the district's voters, and in this case, Mr. Rothman deserves reelection."
Rothman won reelection to a third term, defeating Joseph Tedeschi 68%-30% with two Independent candidates receiving 2% of the vote. He was endorsed by The Record which stated "Mr. Rothman has done a good job, voters in the 9th District would be well-served by his reelection."
Rothman won reelection to a fourth term, defeating Joseph Glass, 70%-30%. "The Record Endorsement "Rothman in the Ninth," published on October 29, 2002, stated that Rothman should "continue the work that benefits his constituents." They added that Rothman would be "the better choice."
Rothman won reelection to a fifth term, defeating Edward Trawinski 67-32%, with the Libertarian candidate receiving 1% of the vote. On October 22, The Record endorsed him: "Rothman has built a record of accomplishments for his district during four terms in Congress. . . . He deserves a fifth term."
Rothman won reelection to a sixth term, defeating Vincent Micco 71%-28%, with the Moderate Choice candidate receiving 1% of the vote.The Record endorsed Rothman, "Effective and Ethical:9th District Well-Represented by Rothman, noting that he "gets high marks from ethics watchdogs"; "Rothman is dedicated to the concerns of his constituents and works reliably and effectively on their behalf."
Rothman won reelection to a seventh term, defeating Vincent Micco 68-31% with the Independent/Progressive candidate garnering 1%. The 2008 Record Editorial Board endorsement states "Integrity and Independence are his strengths. . . . . He has a strong and independent voice in Congress. . . . He also has a strong reputation for integrity and ethics. . . a proven record of serving the district well and has the advantage of seniority on committees in the House." They wrote "It's hard to find a reason not to endorse Rep. Steve Rothman for re-election.
Rothman won reelection to an eighth term, defeating Michael A. Agosta 61%-38%, with the Green Party candidate receiving 1%. The Record Editorial Board again endorsed Rothman, stating "Rothman is level-headed and measured in his thinking. And he has demonstrated his commitment to serving the needs of the 9th District."
On December 23, 2011, the New Jersey Congressional Redistricting Committee, in compliance with the outcome of the 2010 U.S. Census and the requirements of federal law, consolidated New Jersey's then 13 House seats into 12 congressional districts.
Even though both houses of the New Jersey State Legislature were controlled by Democrats, and New Jersey's Congressional delegation in Washington, DC was made up of a majority of Democratic members,  the half Democrat and half Republican Commission named a Republican, John Farmer, Jr., as its "tie-breaker."Farmer was the former Chief Counsel to Republican Governor Christine Todd Whitman. He was also the former New Jersey Attorney General under Republican Governors Whitman and Donald Di Francesco. Earlier in the year, Farmer had been counsel to the New Jersey Apportionment Commission, but not a member of that Commission nor the "tie-breaker." The "tie-breaker" on that Commission was Rutgers University Professor, Democrat, Alan Rosenthal.
Of the 6 Democrats on the New Jersey Congressional Redistricting Commission, none were from Bergen County--which was the largest county by population in New Jersey. Edward Farmer (no relation to John Farmer, Jr.) was one of those 6 Democrats. He had served 7 years as the Chief of Staff to Congressman Bill Pascrell. 
On December 23, 2012, the thus-comprised Commission chose a map advocated by Republican members.. That map created a new 5th Congressional District, combining parts of New Jersey's 5th Congressional District, represented by Rep. Scott Garrett (age 53), with parts of the 8th Congressional District, which was represented by Rep. William Pascrell (age 75), and parts of the 9th Congressional District, which was represented by Rep. Steve Rothman (age 60).
At the time of the creation of this new map, Congressmen Rothman and Pascrell were members of two of the most powerful committees in the U.S. House of Representatives: Rothman, with a 12-year tenure on the House Appropriations Committee; and Pascrell, with a 6-year tenure on the House Ways and Means Committee.
The Republican Plan chosen by the Redistricting Commission removed 7 of the largest Democratic vote-producing municipalities from the 9th District (the Jersey City, North Bergen, and Kearny sections of the District; Fairview, Hackensack, Fair Lawn and two-thirds of Teaneck) and moved major Passaic County cities and towns (Paterson, Passaic and Clifton, Haledon and Prospect Park) into the 9th Congressional District.
The incumbent congressman in the 8th District, lifelong Passaic County resident Congressman Bill Pascrell, the former Mayor of Paterson and New Jersey State Assemblyman from Passaic County, announced that he would run in the Democratic Primary for the redrawn 9th Congressional District. Rep. Pascrell had represented the 8th Congressional District since 1997
The incumbent congressman in the 9th District, lifelong Bergen County resident Congressman Steve Rothman, the former Mayor of Englewood and elected Bergen County Surrogate Court Judge, announced that he would run in the Democratic Primary for re-election in the 9th Congressional District. Rep. Rothman had represented the 9th Congressional District since 1997.
Rothman was defeated by Pascrell in the 2012 Democratic Primary.
In describing the gerrymandered redistricting, Record Editorial Page Editor Alfred Doblin wrote that "While many folks are looking at the new 5th District as being a combination of the existing 5th and 9th districts, it’s really the current 8th District that is getting the lion’s share of Rothman’s 9th. Rothman’s constituents are in what these folks are calling Pascrell’s district. From a Pascrell point of view, the conversation is going very nicely indeed. No one has been suggesting that Pascrell is the man under the bus. Few suggested last week that the Republican map was really about two incumbent Democrats battling each other, yet that may very well have been the GOP’s intent all along." Doblin continued by writing that Rothman..... "had been swallowed by a whale," like the Biblical Jonah. He described Rothman as 'a mensch'. . . 'a person of integrity and honor.'"
|Year||Democrat||Votes||Pct||Republican||Votes||Pct||3rd Party||Party||Votes||Pct||3rd Party||Party||Votes||Pct|
|1996||Steve Rothman||117,646||55.8%||Kathleen Donovan||89,005||42.2%||Arthur Rosen||Independent||2,730||1.3%||Leon Myerson||Independent||1,549||0.7%|
|1998||Steve Rothman||91,330||64.6%||Steve Lonegan||47,817||33.8%||Michael Perrone||Independent||1,349||1.0%||Michael Koontz||Independent||686||0.5%||*|
|2000||Steve Rothman||140,462||68%||Joseph Tedeschi||61,984||30%||Lewis Pell||Independent||2,273||1%||Michael Perrone||Independent||1,072||1%||*|
|2002||Steve Rothman||97,108||70%||Joseph Glass||42,088||30%|
|2004||Steve Rothman||146,038||68%||Edward Trawinski||68,564||32%||David Daly||Libertarian||1,649||1%|
|2006||Steve Rothman||105,853||71%||Vincent Micco||40,879||28%||Michael Jarvis||The Moderate Choice||1,363||1%|
|2008||Steve Rothman||151,182||68%||Vincent Micco||69,503||31%||Michael Perrone||Independent/Progressive||3,200||1%|
|2010||Steve Rothman||83,564||61%||Michael A. Agosta||52,082||38%||Patricia Alessandrini||Green||1,980||1%|
*Write-in and minor candidate notes: In 1998, Kenneth Ebel received 277 votes. In 2000, Robert Corriston received 980 votes.
Judiciary Committee (1997-2001)
House Judiciary Subcommittee on Crime (1997-2001)
During his time in Congress, Rothman traveled to, among other places, Iraq, Afghanistan, Pakistan, Kuwait, Egypt, Turkey, Israel, the West Bank and other locations to visit with U.S. troops, their commanders, foreign heads of state, as well as U.S. and foreign diplomatic, military and intelligence leaders.
On March 18, 1997, just two months after being sworn in as a Congressman, Rothman became one of only 15 co-sponsors (including Rep. Bernie Sanders of Vermont) of H.J.Res 17 (105th Congress), a bill to amend the U.S. Constitution to allow Congress and each State to set reasonable limits on campaign donations and expenditures made in support of or in opposition to candidates for Federal office.
In December 1998, the House Judiciary Committee considered testimony and evidence that might form the basis for Articles of Impeachment against President Bill Clinton. On November 19, 1998, Independent Counsel Kenneth W. Starr testified before the Committee, and Congressman Rothman and other committee members examined Mr. Starr about his written report and oral testimony. On December 11 and 12, 1998, the Committee considered whether, among other outcomes, to cite President Clinton for Censure or whether to approve Articles of Impeachment. Congressman Rothman voted for Censure and against Articles of Impeachment. Rothman argued that while the President's conduct was "irresponsible and reprehensible," it did not rise to the level of an impeachable offense under the U.S. Constitution ("treason, bribery or other high crime and misdemeanor").
Congressman Rothman, who had spent most of his life living within a few miles of the Hackensack Meadowlands, made saving its last 8, 400 acres of undeveloped wetlands and open space one of his chief legislative priorities. The Hackensack River Keeper Bill Sheehan described a key moment around 2000 when Rothman pointed to a big map of the area, where he had drawn a black line around thousands of acres ... "and [Rothman] said, "This is what we intend to save."
Rothman is credited with lending, for the first time, the weight of a U.S. Congressman to the cause of preserving those acres and for securing millions of dollars for the remediation, protection and study of those acres and the wildlife located there. He was, by all accounts, instrumental in preventing the Mills Empire Tract development from proceeding there, as well as creating the environment for the rezoning of all 8,400 acres as undevelopable. From 2001-2007, Rothman also secured $10 million in federal funds, plus additional state and local matching funds, to buy up the remaining parcels to create an 8,400 acre ecological park in the Hackensack Meadowlands.
Congressman Rothman also made Teterboro Airport quieter, safer and less busy. In 2004, he sponsored and oversaw the passage of two federal laws because of the excessive noise in residential areas around Teterboro Airport: one to prevent large jets from using the airport and another preventing scheduled passenger air service there. He also organized a public-private partnership with the Airport's chief operators to ban the noisiest planes, limit nighttime flights, and to work with surrounding communities to address their complaints about the Airport.
In the wake of the 1999 Columbine, Colorado High School Massacre, where 12 students and one teacher were killed and 24 were injured by two senior student shooters, Congressman Rothman authored and had enacted into law "The Secure Our Schools Act," (2000) which provided federal hundreds of millions of matching funds to communities across his district and across the country so that schools could keep weapons and strangers out of schools. Under the Act, towns can apply for funds to be used for school security assessments, security training of personnel and students, and for improved coordination with law enforcement officials as well as to install metal detectors, locks, and improved lighting.
During his 16 years in Congress, Rothman brought federal money for improvements to every one of his area's local hospitals, and helped local businesses small and large garner appropriations for his district's and the state's transportation and other aging infrastructure, funding for school safety and first responders, and medical research. As a member of the House Appropriations Committee, he was also able to have many other state projects funded.
For six years, Rothman served simultaneously as a member of the powerful House Appropriations Subcommittee on Defense and the House Appropriations Subcommittee on Foreign Operations and State. He was the second U.S. Congressman, after Charlie Wilson (D-Tx), to do so. Thus, given his historic Committee and Sub-committee assignments, Rothman had a unique role in not only protecting the national security interests of the United States, but in supporting U.S. Allies.
Among the many U.S. allies and causes Rothman supported, he greatly facilitated the important U.S.-Israel Relationship. As Rothman many times pronounced, "the national security of the United States is directly affected by the national security of the State of Israel."
For example, on December 7, 2005, the U.S. House of Representatives passed Rothman's Resolution 438 which urged members of the United Nations to stop supporting words and deeds that unfairly castigate Israel; and to promote within the U.N.'s system a more balanced and constructive approach to resolving conflict in the Middle East.
Rothman was regarded as a key pro-Israel voice on Capitol Hill. He played an important role in obtaining congressional funding for Israel's Iron Dome defensive missile system, which was protecting Israeli civilian populations from thousands of rocket and missile attacks coming from U.S.-acknowledged terrorists like Hamas in the Gaza Strip, and from Hezbollah in Lebanon.
Also, given the then thousands of longer range missiles in Syria, as well as the threat of even more destructive Iranian ballistic missiles possessed by Iran which someday might have had nuclear warheads added to their payload, Rothman worked with his congressional colleagues and the White House in supporting several U.S.-Israeli missile defense systems, in particular David's Sling (also known as The Magic Wand), Arrow 2 and Arrow 3. Rothman's efforts were widely applauded in the American pro-Israel community and by Israeli military, diplomatic and elected leaders.
In July 2007, Congressman Rothman became the highest-ranking Democrat in New Jersey to support then U.S. Senator Barack Obama for U.S. President. According to a news release issued by Obama's campaign in Chicago, announcing Rothman's endorsement and naming him as the Co-Chair of the Obama For President, Northeast Campaign, Rothman declared that Obama was "the best candidate for President." Rothman added: "I believe that having Barack Obama as our President will not only change how the world sees America, but how Americans see each other." In 2013, in a Record article describing his twenty-five year career in public office,Rothman noted that he believed "history will remember Obama not only for his deliberate and smart accomplishments as President, but for the permanent and positive effects the mere fact of his Presidency has had on the psyche and character of America."
Congressman Rothman was the author of several pieces of legislation honoring fallen armed service members and police in his Congressional District.
On March 11, 2004, Congressman Rothman introduced H.R. 3939 "To re-designate the facility of the United States Postal Service located at 14-24 Abbott Road in Fair Lawn, New Jersey, as the "Mary Ann Collura Post Office Building". Rothman's bill was passed by the House and Senate; and then it was signed by President George W. Bush on June 25, 2004. Officer Collura, an 18-year veteran of the Fair Lawn Police Department, and the Borough's first female officer, was killed in the line of duty on April 4, 2003, in Fair Lawn. She was 43 years old at the time of her death. The renaming ceremony took place on November 1, 2003, in Fair Lawn, New Jersey.
On April 22, 2010, in response to a request by their families and local officials, Rothman sponsored H. R. 5133 "To designate the facility of the United States Postal Service located at 331 1st Street in Carlstadt, New Jersey, as the "Staff Sergeant Frank T. Carvill and Lance Corporal Michael A. Schwarz Post Office Building". Rothman's bill was passed by the House and Senate; and then it was signed by President Barack Obama on January 4, 2011. Army National Guard Staff Sergeant Carvill was killed by an improvised explosive device in Baghdad, Iraq on June 4, 2004. He was 51 years old at the time of his death. Marine Lance Corporal Schwartz was killed by a sniper in Anbar province, Iraq on May 21, 2007. He was 20 years old at the time of his death. The renaming ceremony took place on April 27, 2011, in Carlstadt, New Jersey.
From 2003 until the end of his congressional career in 2013, Congressman Rothman played a critical role in preventing the deportation of Malachy McAllister and his family from the United States, including intervention with the U.S. Department of Homeland Security, and proposing House legislation on McAllister's behalf.
In the 1980s, McAllister was convicted by a court in Northern Ireland of conspiring to murder a Royal Ulster Constabulary Officer. He served more than three years in a Northern Ireland prison and was released for time served by the British. Later, in 1988, masked gunmen sprayed his home in Northern Ireland with bullets as he, his wife and then four children were inside.
McAllister and his family then fled, first to Canada and then to the U.S., arriving in Rutherford, New Jersey in 1996, where he began working as a carpenter when U.S. Authorities sought to deport him and his family.
McAllister alleged that he was a political prisoner in Northern Ireland, that he had served his full prison time, had lived and worked in the U.S. without incident and that any deportation to Northern Ireland would put his and his family's lives in severe danger.
In the face of the Chinese government's assault on Tibetan Buddhism and the Dalai Lama's religious authority, Congressman Rothman led the House of Representatives in expressing solidarity and support for the Dalai Lama and the Tibetan people in his bill, which was passed unanimously by the House in 2003.
The Resolution declared the sense of the House of Representatives that: (1) the visit of the Dalai Lama to the United States in September 2003 is warmly welcomed; (2) the Dalai Lama should be recognized and congratulated for his consistent efforts to promote dialogue to peacefully resolve the Tibet issue and to increase the religious and cultural autonomy of the Tibetan people; and (3) all parties to the current discussions should be encouraged by the Government of the United States to deepen these contacts in order to achieve the aspirations of the people of Tibet for genuine autonomy and basic human rights.
On the day of the bill's passage, the Dalai Lama met Rothman at the U.S. Capitol and personally thanked him for his efforts.
During his 16 years in Congress, Rothman conducted more than 150 town hall meetings, in person. He also conducted several telephone town hall meetings.
During the national debate on the Affordable Health Care Act, Rothman held 10 Town Hall Meetings just on that subject during the month of August 2009. Thousands of district residents and others attended and participated.
In his January 2013 article, "Reflections on 25 Years in Public Office and the End of a Political Career,"Rothman cited the constituent service record of his Congressional Office as the source of great pride: "Aside from…legislative and advocacy achievements, I am so proud of my Constituent Service staff who have helped literally hundreds of thousands of our neighbors. I am also thankful, and was made better and wiser, for having met and spoken with so many at schools, churches,synagogues, temples, mosques, cultural centers, supermarkets, factories, senior citizen centers, veterans halls, rallies and at the more than 150 town hall meetings I conducted, as well as with our troops who shared their time and their stories on my visits to war zones and other places abroad and at home."
Rothman was also an advocate for tax reform and comprehensive immigration reform, reasonable gun control laws, gender and marriage equality, a woman's right to choose, clean air and water, smart land and energy use and conservation, and the humane treatment of animals.
On October 10, 2002, Congressman Rothman voted, along with U.S. Senator John Kerry and the majority of the U.S. Congress, to authorize the use of U.S. military force against Iraq necessary to defend the national security of the U.S. against threats by Iraq and to enforce all relevant U.N. Security Council resolutions regarding Iraq.
In doing so, Rothman stated that "now, especially in the light and shadow of September 11, there is a new immediacy and power to Saddam Hussein's longstanding and oft-stated threats against America. For years, Saddam Hussein has been a well-known patron and financier of some of the world's most lethal anti-American terrorist and terrorist organizations. Now, al Qaeda has joined him....The thought of Saddam Hussein sending these same al-Qaeda 'martyrs' to America to spray chemical or biological poisons over America's reservoirs in our most populated cities, is a thought so horrifying, yet so real a possibility, that I cannot in good conscience especially after the surprise attack of Sept. 22, permit this to happen."
On December 7, 2005, Rothman signed on as a co-sponsor of Rep. Jack Murtha's bill calling for the redeployment of all U.S. troops from Iraq. The bill stated, in part, that U.S. forces have become the target of the insurgency, 45 percent of the Iraqi people feel that the attacks on U.S. forces are justified, and recent polls in Iraq show that 80% of the Iraqi people want the U.S. forces out of their country.
On February 22, 2006, at a press conference, as well as in an op-ed published in The Record newspaper the next day, Congressman Rothman became the first member of New Jersey's congressional delegation to publicly call for a withdrawal of all U.S. troops from Iraq.
In his February 23, 2006 op-ed, Rothman stated: "....Within six months, depending on the most current timetable for ensuring the safe withdrawal of our troops, most American forces now in Iraq should be redeployed to the United States. The remaining soldiers should be placed, as a quick-reaction force, in friendly neighboring countries and nearby U.S. bases. They will be in a position to thwart any dangerous foreign involvement or flare-ups of armed conflict that could seriously destabilize the fledgling Iraqi democracy. We can continue to assist the Iraqi people in fashioning a democratic governing authority under the rule of law--if they will allow us...."
Also, in that Record op-ed, Rothman went on to say that: "After September 11th, along with most members of Congress and the majority of the American people, I believed President Bush when he told us that terrorist acts by Saddam Hussein's agents were 'imminent,' would involve 'weapons of mass destruction,' and would take place 'on American soil'. I accepted his counsel that all of these terrible things would be prevented if we removed Saddam Hussein from power. Now we know that Saddam possessed no weapons of mass destruction and there was no such imminent threat. If I knew at the time of my vote what I know now, I would never have supported the President's invasion of Iraq...."
On August 23, 2006, Congressman Rothman and Congressman Rush Holt lead a public forum on the war in Iraq, in Edgewater, New Jersey, at the Edgewater Community Center, entitled "If Not Now, When?" The event was sponsored by Bergen Grassroots and Hudson Democracy for America.
For eight days in mid-February 2007 Congressman Rothman traveled to Iraq, Afghanistan, Pakistan, Turkey and Kuwait as one of 15 members of the House Defense Appropriations Subcommittee. There he met with foreign diplomats, intelligence officers, chief commanders and dozens of troops. In The Record article of February 28, 2007, entitled "Rothman: Get Troops Home In Six Months", Rothman said his visit to the war-torn region confirmed his belief that U.S. troops should leave Iraq within the next six months. Rothman was also quoted as saying "The United States should be involved as advisors to the military in Iraq and we should be playing a very robust diplomatic role instead of remaining in combat."
|U.S. House of Representatives|
| Member of the U.S. House of Representatives
from New Jersey's 9th congressional district
William J. Pascrell
|Current U.S. order of precedence (ceremonial)|