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Jo Anne Johnson represented us well

December 9, 2010
By Walter Chihara
The slime is still dripping from all of the mudslinging that punctuated the lead up to the mid-term elections last month — a campaign that saw perhaps the peak of unsavory politics in the modern era here in Hawaii.

The power brokers of the major parties on the Mainland saw fit to inject the dirty tactics seldom seen in the islands — at least not to the extent that occurred this time around — into the campaign here in their fight to win the balance of power in Congress for their respective sides.

The dirty cloud even reached the Valley Isle to a certain extent, though tinged to a Maui red. References to candidates’ connections to sexual predators on down to big money developers soiled the election landscape.

Yet, several Maui County politicians stood above the swamp to maintain a level of dignity that is often lost during these election times.

As she has done throughout her ten years as the West Side’s representative on the Maui County Council, Jo Anne Johnson maintained the political integrity we have come to admire and appreciate during her tenure. Whether it was a vote on development issues, county ordinances, tax structures or funding channels, Councilwoman Johnson could be counted on to cast her support based on her research to find the way to benefit the constituents of the district she represented.

To this day, I do not know if she is a Democrat or a Republican. What I do know is that she always voted the issues based not on partisanship, but dependent upon what she thought would be best for as many of the people of Maui, Molokai and Lanai as possible.

She was the manifestation of what a community representative should be — a renaissance politician, if you will.

Now, it has come to the time to bid Councilwoman Johnson a fond farewell. We will not say “goodbye” — we’ll say “see you around.”

As we have done throughout your years on the County Council, we will see you at the supermarket, the bank, at community gatherings. We take comfort in knowing that your replacement on the council, Elle Cochran, is the candidate you endorsed in the election, and a person well in tune with the harmony you brought to Maui County’s political symphony.

With utmost respect and gratitude, the village of Lahaina sends its best wishes out to you. Aloha.

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