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Inside the Campaign of Green Party Congressional Candidate Kenneth Mejia

Kenneth Mejia, one of 24 candidates vying for an open seat in the House of Representatives, at the Tribal Cafe in Los Angeles’ Filipinotown neighborhood. (Haley Winters / Truthdig)

Millions of Americans were inspired by Bernie Sanders’ progressive presidential run in 2016, and his influence has prompted some to join the political fray. Kenneth Mejia, a 26-year-old former accountant and “Berniecrat,” is one such American.

Mejia is running for a spot in the House of Representatives as a Green Party candidate. A special election in June will fill an open seat in California’s 34th Congressional District, which was vacated by Xavier Becerra when he became the state’s attorney general earlier this year.

The district covers vast areas of L.A.’s downtown and Koreatown, as well as East L.A. A whopping 24 candidates are vying for the open seat. Truthdig sat down with Mejia for a Q&A on Saturday at the Tribal Cafe in Los Angeles.

Watch the full video below:

Mejia has made headlines for his grass-roots campaign: According to the Los Angeles Times, 90 percent of his campaign money was raised in amounts of $200 or less. In a Facebook post, he explains his political ideology and what prompted him to leave his six-figure finance job:

The money was great, but the money was something I never really cared for.

Once I heard about Bernie Sanders, I stopped everything that I was doing and realized that for once in my lifetime, I finally see a human being that truly cares for every single person regardless of race, income, sexual orientation, gender, etc. My whole life, I’ve always helped people who didn’t have enough, whether it was buying homeless people underneath tunnels food, buying a family at Pinkberry some dessert, paying for someone’s public transportation costs, or just giving money to the homeless to get through the day. I’ve done these acts of kindness since I was a little kid because I understand the struggle of just trying to get by. I believe everyone deserves a chance at living a decent life, not just the privileged few.

So here is a Disclaimer for EVERYONE:

I HAVE NO POLITICAL EXPERIENCE & I AM FINE WITH THAT. I AM JUST A COMPASSIONATE AND MOTIVATED HUMAN BEING TRYING TO HELP PEOPLE. I AM GOING TO WORK HARD TO DO JUST THAT TO REPRESENT THE PEOPLE, NOT THE PRIVILEGED FEW.

As Bernie Sanders said, no ONE person can do this alone. It will be the people standing behind us that will push the change they want to see in this world. In short, this is OUR campaign.

“I’m doing it because I give a damn about the people,” Mejia said Saturday. “Anything can be accomplished when millions of people stand together.”

Mejia has been hard at work campaigning in the streets of L.A. Learn more about his campaign in the video below:

After the live Q&A, Truthdig hit the streets with Mejia as he canvased neighborhoods in Historic Filipinotown.

The primary election for L.A.’s 34th Congressional District seat is April 4. For more information, click here.—Posted by Emma Niles

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