HONOLULU (HawaiiNewsNow) - In addition to statewide contests, Maui and Kauai voters headed to the polls Tuesday to select new mayors.
By 10 p.m., candidate Mike Victorino had emerged as the winner in the Maui race, clinching a wide margin over opponent Elle Cochran.
“We have an opportunity to make some real substantial change,” he said. “We’re going to work together to make things better.”
The winner of the Kauai race: County Councilman Derek Kawakami, who built on his lead through the evening over Mel Rapozo.
On Maui, Cochran and Victorino were vying for the seat currently held by Mayor Alan Arakawa. Cochran is a county councilwoman while Victorino used to serve on the body.
Cochran tried to appeal to voters by pointing to her experience. Her big priorities: Boost the inventory of affordable housing and bolster the county’s agricultural sector.
Cochran has faced questions over a criminal conviction in 1993, when she was 28.
She acknowledged that she served four years probation and completed 200 hours of community service for her role in the robbery of a group of tourists in Lahaina.
Her response: "No one's lives or stories are perfect. We all make mistakes in life. I feel I'm a role model … for people who are possibly going through the same thing."
Victorino, meanwhile, ran with the motto: ‘Balanced vision, local values," and he says Maui is at a crossroads.
“I really believe that now’s the time for a leader to step up to the plate, bring people together and let’s start taking care of the problems we’ve talked about over the last 10 years,” Victorino said.
He said his priorities include the housing crisis, economic diversification, the environment and agriculture.
On Kauai, Kawakami and Rapozo were seeking to take the reigns from Mayor Bernard Carvalho.
Rapozo said he and his campaign team have done everything they can to get out the vote.
“We knew going into this, we were the underdog," he said, before the final results came in.
Kawakami has said that if he’s elected, he’ll focus on addressing traffic, housing, the local economy and the environment.
“We put in the hard work and we followed the strategy and we have a great team,” he said. “We really ramped up our campaign after that primary.”
Polling places on Kauai were busy throughout the day as voters sought to ensure their voices were heard.
“It was my first time voting,” said Chasen Alayvilla. “We’re the new and upcoming generation.”
Added voter Aaron Yamasato: “We got to make sure our voices are heard and the people and make sure the community gets what they want and make sure things are going the right way.”