Ing to run for U.S. House seat


The Maui News

State Rep. Kaniela Ing, who represents South Maui, announced his candidacy Monday for the urban Oahu U.S. House seat being vacated by Colleen Hanabusa, who is making a run for governor.

The three-term House member from District 11 made his announcement to seek the 1st Congressional seat outside the Morning Glass Coffee in Manoa.

Attempts to reach Ing on Monday for comment on whether he plans to fulfill his current term and represent South Maui in the upcoming legislative session that begins in January were unsuccessful. He was elected in 2012 and re-elected in 2014 and 2016 by large margins.

“Standing up to (President Donald) Trump is important, but it’s not enough. Leaders must stand up to big-money corruption everywhere and offer a positive vision to win the world we want to see,” said Ing, who joined a protest Saturday on Oahu against Trump, who was in the islands. “My decision to run for this open seat is based on where I can make the greatest impact for the state I love and to carry our progressive values as far as possible.”

His platform includes equal pay for women, a single-payer health care system, tuition-free college, universal basic income, criminal justice reform, 100 percent renewable energy nationwide and putting an end to big-money corruption in politics.

Prior to his election to the state House, Ing, 28, was a legislative researcher for the Office of Hawaiian Affairs in Washington, D.C., and a legislative aide to the Honolulu City Council. He is a graduate of the University of Hawaii-Manoa with a master’s degree in public administration.

Ing was part of a group of House members supporting Oahu Rep. Scott Saiki’s effort to unseat Maui’s Joe Souki as speaker at the end of last session. He was rewarded with a leadership position as one of two majority policy leaders and five committee assignments, including chairman of the Ocean, Marine Resources and Hawaiian Affairs Committee.

During his years in the House, Ing has pushed for Election Day voter registration, banning smoking on the beaches, increases in the minimum wage and an end to taking of aquarium fish from reefs.

The Democrat got into some legal trouble last year. He was cited for driving a vehicle without proof of insurance when he was stopped for having an expired safety sticker and delinquent vehicle tax, police said.

He did not show up for a Feb. 18, 2016, court date and a bench warrant was issued for his arrest. Ing turned himself in and was released on bail.

In January, Ing pleaded no contest to not having vehicle insurance and was fined $500 with half of the fine suspended for six months on the condition that he not be convicted of another offense. As part of the plea agreement, a charge of failure to appear was dismissed.

The offenses came to light in the middle of his re-election campaign but Ing won his seat handily.

His name was listed as Mark K. Ing during court proceedings. In his announcement to seek the U.S. House seat, he listed his name as Kaniela Saito Ing.

He did not reply Monday to questions about why he included “Saito” and whether it is part of his legal name.