WAILUKU - Maui District school board member Mary Cochran said Friday that she would not seek a third term on the state Board of Education, but instead would campaign for the Maui County Council's Makawao-Haiku-Paia residency seat.
Cochran said she made the decision this week and was inspired to run for council because of the social issues that she was exposed to while on the BOE.
"I saw a lot of the things the board had to do for Maui families, middle-class families that were needing assistance from the (Department of Education), like lunch programs," she said.
Maui District school board member
She said it was "time for a change" at the BOE; and she was ready to move on.
"It's always evolving, and they need a fresh perspective on where to go next, in light of all this talk of reform at the top level," she said.
The Paia resident is in her eighth year on the school board and previously served as an attorney to the Hawaii State Teachers Association.
The race for the council's Makawao-Haiku-Paia district seat will be without an incumbent this year, as Council Member Mike Molina will be unable to seek re-election due to term limits.
Cochran said she would focus her campaign on the economy.
"It's jobs," she said. "Jobs, jobs, jobs, and the urgent, urgent need to rebuild our tax base with jobs."
Providing water to Central Maui would be a critical part of that plan, she added.
"We know there's water in East Maui, and we know there's concerns from some parties, like Maui Tomorrow and the Sierra Club," she said. "But there comes a time when we all have to agree that there's a need, and maybe one or two trees gotta go.
You can't just keep hugging trees. The industry is so stagnant without water here on Maui."
Candidates for the 2010 elections can begin filing nomination papers on Monday.