Mitchell (Mitch) Roth, 2020 candidate for Hawai‘i County mayor, has substantial government administrative and management experience, including as a national trainer for the Community Policing Institute under the U.S. Department of Justice.
Roth, 55, has been the elected prosecuting attorney for the county since 2012. He won reelection in 2016. The office, which has three locations (Hilo, Kona and Kamuela), employs 125—34 are prosecuting attorneys—and prosecutes violations of State and County laws, ordinances and regulations on Hawai‘i Island.
Roth began his public service career in 1993 in Honolulu where he became one of the nation’s first community-oriented prosecutors and helped develop a prosecution program focused on community. He brought his knowledge and training to Hawai‘i County as a deputy prosecutor in 1998. He believes that the first step to problem solving is to gather the right people at the table.
Under his leadership, the Hawai‘i County Office of the Prosecuting Attorney has prosecuted several cold cases, implemented a restorative justice project, created a sexual assault unit with attorneys experienced in such cases, and set up community outreach and training about sex assault.
He hired counselors to bolster victim services and assist victims of property crimes. Under his leadership, the office helped launch the Big Island Juvenile Intake and Assessment Center. Work in this area has contributed to a reduction in juvenile crime in the County by more than 50%. Roth also helped start a Veterans Treatment Court.
Roth has a bachelor’s degree from the University of Hawai‘i at Manoa and a Jurist Doctorate from Whittier Law School. Between college and law school, he taught English in Japan, where he met his wife, Noriko Yamada Roth.
He is a recipient of the Honolulu Prosecuting Attorney’s Award of Excellence.
On Hawaii Island, he supervised the Asset Forfeiture Program for several years and was designated as a Special Assistant United States Attorney.
Mitch and Noriko Roth have three adult children, all graduates of Waiakea High School.
Roth is a founding member of the Hawai‘i Island Visitor Aloha Society (VASH), the Community Coalition for Neighborhood Safety, NexTech 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. He is a member of the Rotary Club of Hilo and of Hilo Exchange Club. He also volunteers with RYLA, the Rotary Youth Leadership Awards. In the past, he served on the YMCA corporate board, and an officer of Turning Point for Families.