For those inspired by Bernie Sanders’ mantra that we deserve better than career politicians who are bought and sold by corporations, we can now wrap our enthusiasm around Kaniela Ing, candidate for U.S. Congress — the only real progressive in the race.

For so many of us, the Democratic Party’s charge to advocate for working families has been totally undermined by its refusal to directly challenge corporate power, enabling our current president to masquerade as a voice for working people.

Prior to and since that election, progressive candidates have risen up in record numbers offering a different kind of Democrat who will truly represent and look like America, by virtue of  gender, race, religion, profession, economic status — and most importantly — who represent people, not corporations.

State Rep. Kaniela Ing is running in a crowded Democratic primary for Hawaii’s open 1st Congressional District seat. Anthony Quintano/Civil Beat

We’re fortunate to have one such candidate running for Hawaii’s 1st District seat in Congress — Kaniela Ing. When Kaniela, a Justice Democrat, and his fellow progressive legislators arrive in Congress, they will start on day one, united around an agenda focused on people, not profits, to enact policies that the majority of Americans support:

Ending the corruption of big money in politics, allowing everyone access to a Medicare-For-All single-payer system, providing free tuition for public colleges, creating a renewable energy revolution, enacting common sense gun legislation, fighting for women’s equality and our LGBTQ family, enacting comprehensive immigration reform, implementing a real infrastructure plan, and more.

Not all Democrats are the same. A Democrat who takes corporate money, who’s been a Republican just before they became a Democrat, who talks about being “for the people” but whose votes imply influence by special interests, are not in this fight for the benefit of Hawaii residents and the American people.

It’s only Kaniela who has demonstrated the political courage to turn his back on big corporate donors. It’s only Kaniela’s track record that is long and strong in fighting for working families. Kaniela is the only candidate who supported and aggressively championed marriage equality for Hawaii, while one of his opponents, who claims to be “revolutionary,” opposed marriage equality, and another opponent’s history includes homophobic rants.

What’s revolutionary about opposing same-day voter registration, while Kaniela helped write and pass that legislation? Why vote against legislation moving Hawaii to 100 percent renewable energy (which Ing championed) or preventing carrying firearms while intoxicated (which Ing helped introduce) unless that lawmaker is a Republican in Democrat’s clothing?

Kaniela is enthusiastically endorsed by progressives: Justice Democrats, Progressive Change Campaign Committee, Democracy for America, The Young Turks, Our Revolution.

A true revolutionary stands bravely against the status quo of profits trumping people; is progressive enough to advocate a Universal Basic Income that leaves no one behind in a state with the highest cost of living; is courageous enough to take on special interests, corporate polluters trying to frack our islands, billionaires trying to usurp native lands; is compassionate enough to champion working families, as Kaniela explains, “because I come from one.”

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