Hawaii island Mayor Mitch Roth was taken to a hospital Saturday night with chest pains, county officials said this morning.
Roth, 56, who was elected in November, went to North Hawaii Community Hospital, was later transported to the Hilo Medical Center, where he was treated and had a stent implanted, according to a county news release.
A stent is a small tube that is used to keep blocked passageways open. It may mitigate chest pain and possibly treat a heart attack in progress.
Doctors are still evaluating him, officials said.
Hawaii County spokesman Cyrus Johnasen said, “Mayor Roth’s recovery is anticipated to take a few days. His cabinet is built, but is awaiting confirmation for directors on the 20th. They are already working.”
Hawaii County Managing Director Lee Lord is acting mayor while Roth is recovering.
“I would like to thank everyone for their well wishes and prayers at this time,” Roth said in the news release. “I have had excellent treatment from the moment I began to feel discomfort, and would especially like to thank our Hawaii County first responders for their adept response and care. My wife Noriko and I look forward to a speedy recovery and are confident that Lee will do a phenomenal job as acting mayor.”
Lord said, “I look forward to representing you honestly and with integrity in the absence of Mayor Roth. My wife Linda and I are praying for a speedy recovery for Mitch and look forward to his return.”
Roth assumed office on Dec. 7 after garnering over 58% of the votes against political newcomer Ikaika Marzo in the Nov. 3 election.
Roth, a former Hawaii island prosecutor, succeeded Harry Kim, who served as Hawaii island mayor for 12 years, but failed to advance following the Aug. 8 primary.
While serving as a Hawaii County prosecutor, Roth was best known for his role in obtaining convictions in the notorious “Peter Boy” Kema case 20 years after the 6-year-old’s death at the hands of his parents.
Just after his election win, Roth told the Star-Advertiser’s livestream show “Spotlight Hawaii” that he wanted 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.”
U.S. Congressman Kaialiʻi Kahele (HI-02) extended his prayers and well wishes to Roth and his family in a statement today that also praised the Hawaii island healthcare facilities that served the mayor.
“I would like to extend my prayers and well wishes to Hawaiʻi Island Mayor Mitch Roth for a full and speedy recovery,” Kahele said. “We also extend our aloha to his wife Noriko and their entire family who are supporting him at home.”
“I want to thank the doctors and staff of the North Hawaii Community Hospital as well as the Hilo Medical Center for their quick actions to aid Mayor Roth. The Hilo Medical Center’s interventional cardiology program and cardiac catheterization laboratory provides crucial care for those in need,” he said. “We are deeply grateful for the important life saving work they do every day.”