Rising Democratic star Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez rallies for Kaniela Ing
Approximately 300 people crammed into a hot auditorium in Kapahulu on Thursday evening, spilling out onto the grass, at a rally for state Rep. Kaniela Ing’s congressional bid.
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Approximately 300 people crammed into a hot auditorium in Kapahulu on Thursday evening, spilling out onto the grass, at a rally for state Rep. Kaniela Ing’s congressional bid. The special guest, and a major draw, was Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez, an emerging progressive leader in the Democratic Party, who flew into Honolulu to lend some last-minute support to Ing’s campaign.
Ocasio-Cortez, 28, made national headlines when she beat U.S. Rep. Joe Crowley, a 10-term incumbent, in the New York Democratic primary in June. Like Ing, she is part of a growing group of politicians who identify as Democratic socialists.
Ocasio-Cortez tied her and Ing’s campaigns to a growing movement of economic justice for working people throughout the country.
“It is only possible when we come together and generate that power of a collective vision, and that is why other people try so hard to demoralize, to create cynicism, to separate us — because they know how powerful we are when we come together,” Ocasio-
Cortez said to rousing applause. “So their only offense when they know that our power is in our collective spirit, they know that their only offense is to make us be suspicious of each other, to make us say we are separate from one another — that is Hawaii and this is the Bronx — when every single one of us is fighting to make that rent check at the end of the month.”
Ing, 29, has vigorously campaigned on a platform of progressive ideas, including a single-payer health care system, housing for all, free public college education, canceling student debt and abolishing U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement.
He spoke after Ocasio-Cortez and also received enthusiastic applause during what was likely the most spirited rally during this campaign season.
Ing spoke of being raised in a family of Republicans but finding it impossible to survive without government assistance when his father died when Ing was 11 years old. He tied his experience to the need to make it easier for young people to make a living without being burdened by the rising costs of housing, health care and college tuition debt.
“If we can afford to bail out Wall Street and big banks who caused this crisis and give them golden parachutes for $1.5 trillion dollars, then we sure as hell can give our generation a shot in life,” Ing said, reiterating his support for student debt cancellation.
Hawaii voters have shown their appetite for embracing progressive ideas, as evidenced by the the state’s current congressional delegation, but Ing has struggled to gain major traction in the six-way congressional race to replace U.S. Rep. Colleen Hanabusa.
Ing, who has had to work to gain name recognition, was capturing only 6 percent of the primary vote, according to a July Honolulu Star-Advertiser poll, compared with front-runner Ed Case, who had 36 percent.
Ing’s congressional campaign was likely hurt in June when the Hawaii Campaign Spending Commission fined him more than $15,000 for campaign spending violations. Ing has said that the violations were not intentional and could be attributed, in part, to his youth and limited political experience.
Ing’s campaign has plowed ahead and is hoping to replicate the success of Ocasio-Cortez when primary ballots are counted Saturday. Similar to Ing, an internal poll taken before the New York primary reportedly had Ocasio-
Cortez down by 36 percentage points, and she had received little media attention.