The primary election for the West Maui County Council seat is a litmus test for how Maui feels about the genetically modified organism (GMO) issue.
The incumbent, Elle Cochran of Lahaina, has consistently opposed GMOs. In fact, she is the only one of Maui's council members who has taken a strong stand and introduced legislation relating to stricter regulation of GMOs and pesticides.
She faces two first-time challengers: Rick Nava and Ka'ala Buenconsejo. Both men feel that a variety of other issues are of greater interest to Maui voters.
The Weather Vane Race to Watch West Maui Council Seat
This is the major weather vane contest, because the outcome will show which way the political winds are blowing here.
In past elections, single issues have seldom defined county races. But in this contest, voters will decide if these environmental issues and the way Cochran has presented them accurately represent the sentiments of the majority.
In some ways, her views are echoed by the SHAKA Movement's landmark voter initiative that seeks a moratorium on GMOs. That measure has gathered more than 8,500 valid county voter signatures to put the question on the ballot in November. Those who support a GMO moratorium are thought to also be likely Cochran voters.
Though County Council candidates are required to live in West Maui, all residents of Maui County can vote in this primary, as well as the general election. The County Council seats are all non-partisan races. That means that the candidates do not declare a party affiliation, and the top two vote-getters in the primary on Saturday, Aug. 9, go on to face each other in the 2014 General Election in November. The winner will serve a two-year term as a member of the Maui County Council.
See Elle Cochran link www.mauiweekly.com/page/content.detail/id/532584/Elle-Cochran---Anti-GMO-Incumbent-Takes-a-Stand.html?nav=13, Ka'ala Buenconsejo link www.mauiweekly.com/page/content.detail/id/532586/Ka-ala-Buenconsejo---Time-to-Get-Involved-.html?nav=13, and Rick Nava link www.mauiweekly.com/page/content.detail/id/532585/Rick-Nava---He-Listens--He-Cares-.html?nav=13.