Cochran files as official candidate for mayor’s office

ELLE COCHRAN, Pulls nomination papers

Maui County Council Member Elle Cochran made her candidacy for mayor official Friday, filing her nomination papers and becoming the third current or former council member to jump into the race to succeed Mayor Alan Arakawa, who can’t seek re-election because of term limits.

Kahului Council Member Don Guzman and former Wailuku-Waihee-Waikapu Council Member Mike Victorino already have filed officially as candidates. Cochran holds the council’s West Maui residency seat and chairs the Infrastructure and Environmental Management Committee. She is completing her fourth two-year term.

Others to check out nomination papers, but not filing yet as official candidates, were: former Council Member Ricordo “Rick” Medina of Wailuku; frequent letter writer and former mayoral candidate Orion Kopelman of Kahului; and Makawao resident Beau E. Hawkes.

(Hawkes ran for mayor in 2014, finishing last with 380 votes in a primary field of seven. In 2015, he was sentenced to a 30-day jail term for disregarding a police officer’s orders and driving away from a traffic stop in 2014. A video of the incident in which an officer used a Taser to subdue Hawkes as he ran away was posted online and went viral.)

In her announcement, Cochran said she’s “recognized for addressing complex issues and for being the voice of the people and the environment in the Council Chambers.”

She sought to create pesticide buffer zones and led efforts for mandatory disclosure requirements for commercial agricultural entities that purchase or use certain quantities of pesticides or have genetically modified organisms.

Other Cochran-introduced legislation included: a resolution to expand recycled water infrastructure and phase out the use of injection wells for treated wastewater; a measure for a ban on polystyrene food containers; a bill for a moratorium on Central Maui inland dune sand mining; a measure to reserve a planning commission seat for a Hawaiian cultural adviser; a bill to ban Oxybenzone products; and a measure to approve funding for third-party illegal short-term rental unit identification and enforcement.

“Many of the housing, environment and infrastructure issues that Maui County is facing are managed directly by the mayor,” Cochran said. “These islands deserve an administration that challenges the status quo and the systems that created the problems we face today. I have a proven track record for progressive policy and focus which breeds results.”

She said she has action plans to increase the county’s affordable housing inventory and make housing affordable forever, and she said she’s created a sustainable tourism plan to mandate the implementation of key Maui Island Plan items to mitigate tourism infrastructure impacts.

And, Cochran pledged to hire a professional county manager as managing director to select and manage qualified professionals to head each county department.

“Our departments and staff are the backbone of this county that keep our core services running smoothly,” she said. “My vision and action plan for moving Maui County forward will benefit exponentially from partnering with a professional county manager. I am looking forward to advancing our organizational structure away from politically favored appointees.”

Cochran said she has worked in the hospitality industry and is co-owner of Maui Surfboards, established in 1966 and the oldest surf shop on Maui.


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