A veteran prosecutor and a community organizer square off in race for Big Island mayor

Mitch Roth vs. Ikaika Marzo
Mitch Roth vs. Ikaika Marzo(Hawaii News Now)
Published: Oct. 28, 2020 at 5:51 PM HST
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HONOLULU, Hawaii (HawaiiNewsNow) - In the race for Hawaii County Mayor, it’s a veteran Big Island prosecutor versus a beloved community organizer.

Mitch Roth, the prosecutor, has nearly three decades of experience in government.

Meanwhile, first-time candidate Ikaika Marzo was nicknamed the “Mayor of Puna” when he organized donations and got information to residents during the 2018 Kilauea eruption.

In their final push before the general election, both candidates know many people have already turned in their mail-in ballots but are still hoping to sway undecided voters.

“We had a campaign with aloha,” said Roth.

Added Marzo: “We kept on learning more more and started to progress."

Marzo owns Kalapana Cultural Tours and got folk hero status during the lava disaster.

Roth has gained notoriety in part for looking into unsolved cold cases.

Both feel they’ve got the momentum.

“We left it all on the table and I think we’ve done a good job and I think we’ve done good in our community of Hawaii,” said Marzo.

“It’s not about me," Roth said. “It’s about we and that’s how we got to lead this island.”

During a recent forum on Zoom organized by Mainstreet Pahoa Association, Marzo said it’s time to get Hawaii island’s residents safety back to work.

Roth favors managed tourism and more green energy projects.

“Having been in government 27 years, I understand government. No, I’m not the typical government employee. I have thought outside of the box. I have created really positive change,” said Roth.

Marzo said it’s all about the community.

“I have led a community through a disaster and now I’m going to bring our community to thriving and be the best community Hawaii ever seen,” he said.

Unlike the Honolulu mayoral race, Hawaii County’s race for mayor has been friendly.

“Ikaika is a great guy and we’re gonna have lunch today or an early dinner at 4:30 together. A great guy, great musician,” said Roth.

“I can go over there and talk to him and ask him for advice. Mitch, good brother, but you got a work on the shaka,” added Marzo, as the two shared a hearty laugh on the Zoom forum.

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