Hawaii County-elect Mayor Mitch Roth will take over on Dec. 7, giving him just over a month to build his cabinet. Roth told Spotlight Hawaii this morning that that work has already begun, with interviews underway. Beyond who will help him lead, Roth said he wants to change how they do it.
“We want to change the philosophy of government to a government that helps people thrive and succeed, versus being always in control. When we’re always controlling things, we stifle creativity and we stifle progress,” he said.
Roth said he wants to streamline the county’s permitting process to foster a better environment for local businesses. He also is planning to host a sustainability summit within the first 100 days of taking office, which will focus on the environment, infrastructure, renewable energy, solid waste management, and jobs.
Roth, who won with over 58% of the votes, praised his opponent Ikaika Marzo. Throughout the race, both men made a point of being publicly civil toward one another, with no negative attacks on either side.
“Both our campaigns did a great job of showing aloha and treating each other with dignity and respect,” Roth said. “My hat’s off to Ikaika for running a very clean race.”
Later in the broadcast, Honolulu-Star Advertiser political reporter Gordon Pang joined the conversation, to give his take on the election. Honolulu will soon have a new mayor, new prosecutor, and five new city council members, so big changes are expected in the months ahead. Pang pointed out that for the first time ever, the Honolulu City Council will be majority female, comprised of five women and four men.
“Several of the incumbent council members have been jockeying to be the new council chair, so we’ll see how that all shapes up. Rumors are that Tommy Waters has been trying to form a coalition and so too has Heidi Tsuneyoshi,” Pang said.
The surprise of the night: the sheer number of in-person voting that led to a four hour delay in publishing the results of the first print out. According to a law that went into effect just last year, the Office of Elections cannot publish results until the last person in line has voted. Pang said it appears that many were first time voters who took advantage of same day registration.
Spotlight Hawaii, which shines a light on issues affecting Hawaii, airs live 10:30 a.m. every Monday, Wednesday and Friday on the Honolulu Star-Advertiser’s Facebook page. Join Ryan Kalei Tsuji and Yunji de Nies this month for a conversation with guests. Click here to watch previous conversations.