Name: Kaniela Saito Ing
Age: 29
Current occupation: State Legislator
Political experience: 3-term State Representative, Majority Policy Leader

What should the government’s role be in providing access to health care? What should or should not be covered in a basic policy?

Healthcare is a human right. America is the wealthiest nation in the history of the world and it is shameful that everyone does not have access to medical care. We need to do more than fight to restore the ACA. The ACA was an interim step towards a better system, universal single-payer health care. If elected to Congress, I will fight for Medicare for all. I will also champion paid family leave because no one should have to decide between going to work to pay rent and being with a sick loved one.

Deadly mass shootings have fueled arguments for increased gun control. Do you agree? What should or should not be changed about America’s current gun laws?

Children are afraid to go to school, people are being slaughtered in their place of worship, and our system gives more of a voice to the NRA than the overwhelming majority of Americans, including a majority of gun owners, calling for increased gun control. When the NRA sent me a candidate survey to be considered for their endorsement, I lit it on fire and sent them the video. Like our limited access to health care, the United States is the only developed nation that experiences such a staggering amount of gun violence. We can stop it. I support mandatory background checks, waiting periods, banning assault-style weapons and high-capacity magazines, and entering gun purchases into the FBI criminal database.

In light of recent nuclear threat concerns, should the United States play a more or less prominent role in international relations? What actions should be taken?

America is now playing a more prominent role in international relations, but it is a far different role than the stable leadership we’ve displayed since WWII. Militarily and economically, the United States remains a pivotal player in international relations. We need to stop antagonizing democratic allies and propping up authoritarian regimes. Ill-conceived tariffs and trade wars ignore the reality that we now live in a global economy. The best way to put America first is to work with, not against, the rest of the world.

A White House proposal aims to slash the Department of Interior’s budget by $1.6 billion, and shift funds from new land acquisition to the development of oil, gas, and coal. What elements of this plan would you keep, what would you change, and why?  

This proposal is antithetical to the mission of the Department of Interior and would be devastating to our nation and our planet. At the State Legislature, I supported 100% renewable energy statewide by 2045, and, if elected to Congress, I will fight for 100% renewable energy nationwide by 2035. Climate change is real and Hawaii is on the frontline. Waikiki could be underwater in my son’s lifetime if we do not take bold action now.  

If you could introduce one piece of legislation, what would it be and why?

Since Medicare for all has been introduced, I would sponsor a bill creating the Green New Deal. There’s a myth that protecting the environment and helping the economy are mutually exclusive. That does not have to be the case. Instead of looking to self-interested corporations for guidance on the environment, we need to look to the people. I propose a $1 trillion investment to achieve 100% renewable energy nationwide by 2035 and offset the impacts of climate change, especially for places under imminent threat like Hawaii. The Green New Deal will reboot our economy and provide the skilled jobs that Hawaii’s working families need to stay and thrive in Hawaii, while protecting our islands and Island Earth from the devastating impacts of climate change.