Big Island Now poll No. 45: What should be the top issue in the 2024 Hawai‘i County mayoral race?
Hawai‘i County has a race for mayor in the 2024 election cycle.
As of now, the field of candidates has just two: incumbent Mayor Mitch Roth and former Bay Clinic Chief Executive Officer Kimo Alameda.
Roth made his run for a second term official the evening of Jan. 11 in front of at least 165 supporters at Nani Mau Gardens in Hilo. Alameda officially joined the race Jan. 13 during an event at Wailoa River State Recreation Area in Hilo.
Roth took office Dec. 7, 2020, amid the COVID-19 pandemic. Alameda has spent the past six months considering his run for the County’s top office and talking with community members. Both come with their credentials and platforms.
Roth called upon the Big Island community to continue dreaming together, pushing the boundaries of imagination to create a better, brighter and more vibrant island home.
For the sitting mayor, it’s important to him that it’s affordable for local families to stay on the island, as his children have moved to the mainland and likely won’t return.
“We’re at a time in history where there are more Hawaiians living outside of the state than in it,” he said. “As we lose Hawaiians we lose culture, if we lose culture we lose our identity, if we lose identity we lose our sense of place. We have a special island and we want to preserve it.”
Alameda’s three-part “Live-Work-Play” platform is designed to focus on the real needs of local families so that future generations can continue to call Hawai‘i Island their home.
“We need to get back to the basics of providing for all our residents,” said Alameda. “Whether it’s building infrastructure, diversifying our economy beyond tourism, or creating more recreation opportunities for our keiki and kūpuna, our County needs to keep the interests of the people we’re supposed to serve first.”
You can read more about each of the candidates at Big Island Now.
There also could be more hopefuls to join the race, as candidate filing for the 2024 election starts Feb. 1.
We want to know what issue you think is the most important facing the Big Island and should be a top priority for the mayoral candidates and a future administration.
Comment here or on social media about why you voted the way you did. Voting ends at midnight Jan. 19. Results will be posted Jan. 21.