(BIVN) – A crowd gathered in and around the sumo ring at Liliʻuokalani Park and Gardens in Hilo on Tuesday evening, to join Mitch Roth as he announced the start of his campaign for Hawaiʻi County Mayor in 2020.
Roth, with his wife Noriko by his side, gave a short speech to his supporters and media cameras. Integral members of Roth’s campaign team also spoke at the podium.
Here is the official media release from the Roth campaign:
Hawai‘i County Prosecuting Attorney Mitch Roth is running for Big Island mayor. Roth declared his candidacy Tuesday evening at Liliuokalani Park & Gardens in Hilo, to a group of supporters.
“It would be my honor to serve Hawai‘i Island as mayor. Our island is a jewel in both diversity and shared values. We have opportunities to harness those values into a model for sustainable living, economic stability and fostering growth in culturally appropriate ways that attract our children home,” Roth said.
“Over and over, it’s proven that the first step to problem solving — and community building — is to bring the right people to the table,” Roth said.
Government doesn’t need to do everything, Roth said. Government can be the convener, identifying likely partners and providing framework for solutions.
“Years ago, I asked myself what my major definite purpose in life is,” Roth said. “My answer is simple and solid—to improve the quality of life for my family and my community.”
Roth, an early adopter of the community justice method of problem solving, has traveled around the United States teaching community policing to law enforcement and community members for a Community Policing Institute under the U.S. Department of Justice. He was one of the first community-oriented prosecutors in the nation, the first in Honolulu and then on Hawai‘i Island.
He has been Hawai‘i County’s elected prosecuting attorney since 2012, served as a deputy prosecutor since 1993, first in Honolulu and then Hawaii Island. One of his first initiatives on Hawai‘i Island was to help launch the Pahoa Weed and Seed community improvement initiative, which became a national model.
“Applying community-focused principles at the prosecutor’s office, we’ve built programs to help victims, help reduce juvenile crime by 50%, started the first restorative justice program in a prosecutor’s office, helped start a Veterans Treatment Court, heightened the attention on sexual assault and domestic violence and in each step, brought stakeholders to the table as partners,” Roth said.
Roth asked Pomai Bartolome to serve as his campaign chair. She is a graduate of St. Joseph’s and Hawaii Community College where she served as president of the student government. She is now completing her liberal arts degree. Bartolome is an active community member. She owns and operates Dream Hawaii Studio, a talent enhancement program, which allows youth an opportunity to build character through performing arts. She is a radio personality, wife and mother.
Roth is a founding member of the Hawai‘i Island Visitor Aloha Society (VASH), the Community Coalition for Neighborhood Safety, NexTech, which creates STEM opportunities for youth, and has helped bring the Citizens Emergency Response Teams (CERT) to Hawai‘i Island. He is dedicated to helping young people achieve their goals. Roth is a board member of the Boys and Girls Club of the Big Island and of Camp Agape Big Island, a four-day camp for children of incarcerated parents.
Roth is married to Noriko Yamada Roth and they have three adult children who all graduated from Waiakea High School.
The official website of the campaign is also online at MitchRoth.org.
So far, Wendell Kaʻehuʻaeʻa has also announced his plan to run for the seat, which is currently held by Mayor Harry Kim.