Hawai‘i County Prosecuting Attorney Mitch Roth has officially announced that he is running for Hawai`i County mayor.
Roth declared his candidacy to a group of supporters and media Tuesday evening at Liliuokalani Park & Gardens in Hilo.
“It would be my honor to serve Hawai‘i Island as mayor,” Roth wrote in a press release. “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.”
“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,” he continued. “Government doesn’t need to do everything. 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. My answer is simple and solid — to improve the quality of life for my family and my community.”
Roth, who ascribes to 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 US Department of Justice, the press release said.
He was one of the first community-oriented prosecutors in the nation, the first in Honolulu and then on Hawai‘i Island, the release continued. He has been Hawai‘i County’s elected prosecuting attorney since 2012 and served as a deputy prosecutor since 1993, first in Honolulu and then on Hawai‘i Island. One of his first initiatives was to help launch the Pāhoa Weed and Seed community improvement initiative, which became a national model, the release said.
“Applying community-focused principles at the prosecutor’s office, we’ve built programs to help victims, (and) 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 Hawai‘i 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, the Community Coalition for Neighborhood Safety, NexTech, which creates STEM opportunities for youth, and has helped bring the Citizens Emergency Response Teams to Hawai‘i Island, the release said.
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.