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Meet County Council candidate Elle Cochran

By Staff | Mar 18, 2010


LAHAINA — West Siders can meet County Council candidate Elle Cochran on Friday, March 26, at Canoe’s Restaurant in Lahaina at 5 p.m.

“It’s cool, because the manager is giving me the entire restaurant for the night,” the lifelong West Maui resident said.

The evening will feature pupu and salad bars; coffee, water and juice; good music provided by An Den; a no-host bar; dancing; dessert; silent auction; and door prizes.

It’s the candidate’s first fund-raiser; the suggested donation at the door is $20 per person.

One of the evening’s objectives, Cochran explained, “is so people can meet me and vise versa. I am able to meet them.”

The newly elected chair of the Democratic Party of West Maui became a public figure in 2007 with the launching of the Save Honolua Coalition.

Cochran, a Honolua resident, was founding president of the organization.

She described the “aha” moment that shaped her new pathway in life.

“The really big turning point in my life was actually when we, the Honolua Coalition, went to the County Council, and we packed the room there. When we got the company (Maui Land and Pineapple Co. Inc.) to pull the plans for Lipoa Point, and the council voted for the million dollars to set aside to help start negotiating for the land for the community, that was the initial moment when I realized, ‘Yeah, one voice can make a difference, and when you get them all put together rallying behind a cause, something positive, it turns out.’ ”

Since then, it’s been like a snowball for the 45-year-old, and she has taken advantage of the “doors of opportunity that keep opening up every day.”

Her enthusiasm is contagious.

“FACE Maui (Faith Action for Community Equity) sent me to Washington, D.C., to do advocacy work for comprehensive immigration reform with all our representatives in Congress back in April last year,” the multiethnic candidate said.

Cochran is Hawaiian, Okinawan, Spanish and English. FACE is an island interfaith grassroots organization formed for the purpose of working for justice and equity on Maui.

In November last year, she participated in a national leadership training program offered by the Gamaliel Foundation.

“This is the training (President Barack) Obama went through and was a trainer for in Chicago,” she remarked.

Through the Maui Economic Opportunity BEST (Being Empowered and Safe Together) Reintegration Program, she is mentoring a young lady on a work release program from Maui County Correctional Center.

Cochran attended Hawaii’s sixth annual International Women’s Leadership Conference on Oahu in 2009 and considered the experience enlightening, with women leaders from all over the planet in attendance “sharing their stories.”

“It moved me to see the importance and value of women in leadership,” she commented.   

After attending a 32-hour course, Cochran now serves as a trained mediator for Mediation Services of Maui.

However, Cochran confided, “My ultimate learning experiences have come from being in the community with the people of that community… (including the) many workshops, lectures, meetings, movies, presentations, etc. I attend.”

Cochran currently serves as president of Maui Unite, a community organization “working together to preserve and sustain Maui in the 21st century.”

“My biggest educational outreach is through Akaku TV. My ‘Maui Unite!’ show theme is hope, education, action. I explain the issue, give a way for people to get active and be part of the solution.”

Her guests have included Dick Mayer to discuss the Maui General Plan/Maui Island Plan; Lucienne de Naie and Uncle John Duey on water; Kale Gumapac of Kea‘au on foreclosures; Luci Feinberg on PACT (Parents and Children Together); Hannah Bernard and Aunty Napua Barrows (limu restoration) for the “More Fish in the Sea” event; Cornelia Soberano of the Maui Filipino Women working group; and Ed Gazmen as host about “Ordinary God doing extraordinary things.”

Fellow Unite officer Gordon Cockett will attend the fund-raiser next week Friday.

“Elle is a person of boundless energy, or ‘eleu palena ‘ole, and stops at nothing to win what’s best for the people of Maui. She has lived on the West Side all of her young years and has what’s best for the people in her heart, belonging to no groups or organizations that even hint at self interests. In my opinion, she is the best candidate.

“Yes, I plan to be at her fund-raiser, and I would like to see as many people as possible there who care about our island, community and county. Elle is a grassroots candidate who does not have backing from private sources,” he concluded.

For information, visit www.ElectElle.com.