Elle Cochran humbled by the opportunity to serve on the County Council
LAHAINA — Hours after being elected to serve on the County Council, Elle Cochran felt deeply touched.
“It’s like it hasn’t sunk in yet. Or maybe since I have never been here, I don’t know how to react,” said Cochran, who will succeed West Maui County Councilwoman Jo Anne Johnson in January.
“I’m truly ecstatic and humbled by the over 20,000 people who have faith and confidence in me to do the best job,” Cochran commented. “I feel empowered and really loved!”
Cochran garnered 20,265 votes in last Tuesday’s General Election to win the seat over Alan Fukuyama, who received 16,179 votes.
Many candidates interviewed this year discussed the demands of running for office, including candidate forums, appearances, media interviews and questionnaires from unions and political action committees.
Cochran described the process as extremely time- and energy-consuming.
“Since there is no ‘how-to’ book, you are really on your own. Of course, I spoke to others who have run, but in the end, everyone has a different style and all decisions are made by the candidate themselves in the end,” she noted.
“It’s been like living in a fishbowl, and all eyes are scrutinizing you every waking moment.”
Unlike her opponent, Cochran began campaigning months before the primary.
She sought to build relationships by attending meetings, holding one-on-one talks with community leaders and introducing herself to seniors and cultural organizations.
Cochran took “the time to listen to the real concerns of everyday grassroots people, too,” she added.
Jobs and the economy top residents’ concerns, which trickle down to foreclosures and homelessness, she said. Many residents are also interested in water issues.
Cochran said she plans to meet with ten-year Councilwoman Johnson — who reached her five-term limit this year — to “continue her unfinished business.”
Immediate priorities include learning the ropes and getting Maui County on the path to renewable energy, which will create jobs and sustainability, she said.
She thanked the people who elected her to her first council term.
“I am honored that you have given me this opportunity to serve you. I am deeply touched by your faith and confidence in me to do the right thing,” she concluded.