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Cochran elected by Taylorsville City Council to fill vacant seat

Feb 01, 2018 02:48AM ● Published by Carl Fauver

New city Councilman Curt Cochran says marrying his wife Wendy is his greatest accomplishment. (Carl Fauver/City Journals)

Gallery: Curt [5 Images] Click any image to expand.

Longtime Taylorsville City volunteer Curt Cochran told council members flat out, “I believe I am the best candidate for this position,” as he competed with eight others to fill the city council District 2 seat left vacant when Councilwoman Kristie Overson was elected mayor.

A couple of hours later, when the lengthy special election process was completed, council members agreed, voting 3-1 to have Cochran join their ranks.

“This has been a long process,” Cochran told the council, shortly before his final election. “I considered running six years ago (when Overson was first elected to the council seat). But I finally decided to try to gain a little more experience. I feel qualified now and still haven’t taken running for mayor someday off the table.”

Cochran is currently the city’s planning commission chairman. He’s also previously served on the city’s budget and economic development committees.

The special Jan. 10 meeting began with nine candidates for the District 2 position. A random draw determined their speaking order, and after opening statements, the field of nine was cut to four when the shorthanded four-person council cast the first of several ballots on the night.

Candidates Scott Cold, Dan Fazzini, Jennifer Kester, Jeanaea Lorton and Greg Vanderwerff were eliminated in the first round of voting.

Cochran was joined in the second round by Eric Behunin, Marc McElreath and David Torres.

“This is really tough,” Council Vice Chairman Dan Armstrong said at one point during the two-and-a-half hour process. “These are all strong candidates, and I don’t feel qualified to choose someone from District 2. But here we are. Residents (of the district) will get their say in the next election.”

Just a week after being sworn into her own council seat, newcomer Meredith Harker added, “Here I am making my first big decision, and they are all such qualified applicants.”

After a few more rounds of questioning, McElreath was eliminated next, followed by Torres. The final vote had Cochran defeating Behunin 3-1, with Council Chairman Brad Christopherson casting the lone vote for Behunin. Earlier in the balloting — when the council members were asked to write down their top two selections — Behunin was named on all four ballots, while Cochran and Torres each got two votes.

Cochran told the council he is an employee of eBay, and his employers had already assured him he would be allowed to devote whatever time is necessary to council duties.

“They are very supportive of the communities they work in,” he said. “And it helps that my immediate eBay supervisor is also a Taylorsville resident.”

When the candidates were asked how they had served the city previously, Cochran had one particular project to point out, in addition to his work on various city committees.

“I was very active in helping to get the bass fishing pond operating at Millrace Park (5300 South, west of the Jordan River), knocking on doors and speaking with people,” said the former competitive bass fisherman. “I then helped hundreds of kids learn to love fishing through clubs and tournaments. Altogether that was a nine-year project, start to finish.”  

Cochran told the council he moved to Taylorsville, from Idaho, in 1988. His wife Wendy is a 1984 Taylorsville High School graduate.  

“Marrying that beautiful lady back there,” Cochran said, motioning toward his wife in the council chambers, “is my biggest accomplishment, along with raising our two sons and one daughter. Our roots run deep in this community, and I want to continue to do all I can to make Taylorsville an even better place.”

In terms of recent economic growth accomplishments in the city, Cochran added, “Taylorsville has made great strides, but we can’t slow down or rest on our laurels.”

Cochran also told the council he hopes to do even more to curb panhandling in the city and he would like to increase the effort to improve unsightly neighborhoods.

“The council had a tough decision because there were a lot of great, qualified candidates,” Overson said after the final vote. “I have known Curt since I was first elected (to the city council six years ago) and know he will do a great job.”

Wendy Cochran added, “We’re both very excited. He’s worked very hard for this, and I know he’ll do a good job because he’s dedicated to everything he does.”

Cochran will fill the remaining two years in the city council District 2 term. To retain the position, he will have to be elected by residents of his district in November 2019.  

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