Katie Hill

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Katie Hill
House Democratic Freshman Class Leadership Representatives
In office
January 3, 2019 – November 3, 2019
LeaderNancy Pelosi
Preceded byPosition established
Succeeded byVeronica Escobar
Member of the U.S. House of Representatives
from California's 25th district
In office
January 3, 2019 – November 3, 2019
Preceded bySteve Knight
Succeeded byMike Garcia
Personal details
Katherine Lauren Hill

(1987-08-25) August 25, 1987 (age 36)
Abilene, Texas, U.S.
Political partyDemocratic
Kenny Heslep
(m. 2010; div. 2019)
EducationCollege of the Canyons
California State University, Northridge (BA, MPA)

Katherine Lauren Hill (born August 25, 1987) is an American former politician and social services administrator from Agua Dulce, California. A member of the Democratic Party, she served as the U.S. representative for California's 25th congressional district from January to November 2019. Hill is the former executive director of People Assisting the Homeless (PATH), a statewide non-profit organization working to end homelessness throughout California. She won her seat by defeating incumbent Republican Steve Knight in the 2018 midterm elections.

On October 18, 2019, RedState, a conservative blog, published a report on an alleged affair between Hill and her Legislative Director, which they both denied. On October 23, 2019, Hill admitted that she had had an inappropriate relationship with a campaign staffer before she became a Member of Congress. On October 27, 2019, she announced that she would resign from Congress. Nude photos of Hill were published by the Daily Mail, a British tabloid. Hill blamed the release of the photos on her ex-husband, called them an invasion of privacy and vowed to advocate for victims of revenge porn. She left office on November 3, 2019.

In June 2021, Hill was ordered to pay US$220,000 to the Daily Mail and other media, to reimburse the legal fees these companies spent defending themselves against her accusations. Hill's attorneys plan to appeal the decision.

Early life and education[edit]

Hill was born in Abilene, Texas, and grew up in the Saugus section of Santa Clarita, California. Her mother, Rachel (née Campbell),[2] was a registered nurse, and her father, Michael Hill, was a police lieutenant.[3] Hill attended public schools in the Santa Clarita Valley and graduated from Saugus High School in 2004.[4] She attended California State University, Northridge where she earned a bachelor's degree in English and a Master of Public Administration.[5]

Earlier career[edit]

Hill began her career as a policy advocate at People Assisting the Homeless (PATH), a nonprofit organization developing affordable and supportive services for the homeless in California. Her husband allegedly worked there as well, and it is claimed Hill was his boss.[6] Later as the Executive Director for PATH, she raised the organization from a local force in Los Angeles County to one of the largest nonprofit providers of homes for the homeless in California.[7] Hill helped pass a ballot initiative, Measure H, during spring of 2017 to help alleviate homelessness by providing $1.2 billion in funds for homeless services in Los Angeles County.[8][9] Hill and her husband also raised goats in Agua Dulce, California.[7]

U.S. House of Representatives[edit]



Hill speaking at the California Democratic Party State Convention (2019).

On March 8, 2017, Hill announced her candidacy for the U.S. House of Representatives for California's 25th congressional district, her home district, challenging incumbent Steve Knight, a Republican who had held the office since 2014.[10] Knight won re-election in 2016.[11][12]

In 2018, Hill came in second place in the primary election for California's 25th Congressional District, allowing her to advance to the November 6, 2018, general election, where she again faced Knight.[13] In the general election, she defeated Knight by a 54% vs. 46% tally.[citation needed]

She was the subject of a documentary-style series of episodes that aired on the HBO show Vice News Tonight.[14] The series documented the Hill campaign as the "most millennial campaign ever" for Congress.[15] Vice News Tonight reportedly planned on doing a follow-up episode regarding Hill's advancement to the general election.[16] In the weeks leading up to the midterm election, Hill was endorsed by former President Barack Obama, who also attended a campaign event in Southern California leading up to the election.[17]

Political positions[edit]

Hill stated during her race for office that her top issues were addressing healthcare, rebuilding the middle class with policies that address income inequality and affordable housing, and getting big money out of politics.[9][18][19] She also stated her support for Medicare for All.[20]

Hill reportedly ran a grassroots campaign that didn't accept money from corporate political action committees.[21] In the first quarter of 2018, she raised over $400,000, bringing her total to $1,092,025 raised, with more than 9,800 individual contributions and more than 5,100 individual donors.[22]

Hill has supported comprehensive immigration reform while working towards greater funding and security along the southern border to counter primarily illegal drug trafficking and other various crimes. She also has supported some form of physical barrier along certain areas of the southern border.[23][24][25]

According to an October 2018 article in Rolling Stone, Hill is an unabashed gun owner:

"We have the highest number of law enforcement officials of any district in my county. And we have the second-highest number of veterans of any district in the country. On top of that, a quarter of our district is rural. So people do own guns. That's how my husband and I both grew up. Forty percent of our district owns a gun or lives in a household with a gun."[7]


Before the start of the 116th Congress, Hill and Colorado freshman U.S. Representative Joe Neguse were chosen as the freshman class representatives for the Democratic Caucus.[26]

Committee assignments[edit]

Caucus memberships[edit]

Accusations of improper relationships[edit]

Hill's final speech on her decision to resign (October 31, 2019).

On October 18, 2019, the conservative political blog RedState published allegations that Hill was involved in an extramarital affair with her young male staffer. Hill denied such allegations,[27] with Hill saying that her estranged husband, whom she described as abusive, was doing everything he could to humiliate her, and that her political opponents were exploiting a private matter for political gain.[28] Her husband denied the allegations of abuse.[29] Hill reached out to the Speaker of the House of Representatives Nancy Pelosi to deny the allegations.[30]

On October 23, 2019, Hill sent an email to constituents in which she admitted to an inappropriate relationship with a campaign staffer before becoming a member of Congress.[31][32] The relationship was with a 22-year-old female subordinate recently out of college.[33][34] RedState also published nude photos of Hill as part of the story. Hill said that the U.S. Capitol Police opened an investigation into who may have leaked the photos.[35]


The House Ethics Committee announced on October 23, 2019, that it would conduct an investigation into the allegation that Hill had an affair with her staffer,[36] which would be in violation of House ethics reforms that were implemented in 2018 in response to the #MeToo movement.[37][38][39] Hill promised to cooperate with the Congressional ethics investigation regarding allegations of wrongdoing as a member of Congress.[31][32]


On October 27, 2019, Hill announced via Twitter that she would resign from Congress:[40][41] "This is the hardest thing I have ever had to do, but I believe it is the best thing for my constituents and our country."[42] Speaker of the House Nancy Pelosi said Hill made "some errors in judgment that made her continued service as a Member untenable".[43] Hill vowed to combat revenge porn after photos of her were leaked.[44]

In her last speech before Congress on October 31, 2019, Hill said there was a "double standard" and "misogynistic culture" that resulted in her decision to step down from her position:

"I'm leaving, but we have men who have been credibly accused of intentional acts of sexual violence and remain in boardrooms, on the Supreme Court, in this very body, and worst of all, in the Oval Office...As my final act I voted to move forward with the impeachment of Donald Trump on behalf of the women of the United States of America."[45][46]

On December 7, 2019, Hill penned an op-ed in The New York Times in which she described the events that led to her decision to resign, and mentions that she was suicidal during that time period.[47]


In the special election held in the spring of 2020, Hill endorsed State Assemblywoman Christy Smith, who ultimately lost the election in an upset. Hill, whose PAC contributed $200,000,[48] said that Smith had been considered "the mom of Democratic politics" in the district for years, and that "there's no one else that I could even think of that I would want to run for this."[49] Some Democrats regretted Hill's involvement in the campaign.[50]

After Hill's resignation, Monica Lewinsky reached out and offered to talk about some of the similarities and differences in being the victim of public shaming.[51]

In December 2020, Hill filed a lawsuit against her ex-husband, the Daily Mail, and RedState over "non consensual porn".[52] On April 7, 2021, a judge ruled in favor of the Daily Mail, finding that the photos are protected as "a matter of public issue or public interest" under the First Amendment to the United States Constitution. Hill's attorneys said they plan to appeal the decision.[53][54][55] The judge also ordered Hill to pay roughly $220,000 in fees to the Daily Mail and a couple of journalists.[56]

On April 5, 2021, Hill called for Matt Gaetz to resign in an opinion piece for Vanity Fair, after it was reported that Gaetz had allegedly shown pictures of naked women he claimed to have slept with, including to colleagues on the House floor.[57] Gaetz had supported Hill after the leak of her photos, and Hill called him an "unlikely friend" during their time in Congress.[58][59][60]

Electoral history[edit]

California's 25th congressional district election, 2018
Primary election
Party Candidate Votes %
Republican Steve Knight (incumbent) 61,411 51.8
Democratic Katie Hill 24,507 20.7
Democratic Bryan Caforio 21,821 18.4
Democratic Jess Phoenix 7,549 6.4
Democratic Mary Pallant 3,157 2.7
Total votes 118,445 100.0
General election
Democratic Katie Hill 133,209 54.4
Republican Steve Knight (incumbent) 111,813 45.6
Total votes 245,022 100.0
Democratic gain from Republican

Personal life[edit]

Hill came out as bisexual after high school.[61] She was California's first openly bisexual person to be elected to Congress.[62]

Hill had a tattoo of an Iron Cross on her lower groin, which she got after a sexual assault as a teenager. The tattoo has since been covered over after photos were published in 2019.[63]

In July 2010, Hill married Kenny Heslep, whom she began dating just after high school. They resided in Agua Dulce, California, on their farm, where they fostered rescue animals.[64] Heslep filed for divorce in 2019 and the divorce was settled in October 2020.[28] In December 2020, a judge awarded Hill a restraining order against her ex-husband.[65][66]

Hill also rented an apartment in Washington, D.C., with freshman representative Lauren Underwood.[67]

On January 19, 2020, her half-brother, Daniel Bennett, died of a drug overdose at the age of 20.[68]

Hill's memoir, She Will Rise: Becoming a Warrior in the Battle for True Equality, in which she shares her experiences from her time in politics, was published in 2020.[51]

By July 2019, Hill was in a romantic relationship with Alex Thomas, a reporter and novelist.[69] In October of 2021, Hill said that she and Thomas were expecting a child.[70]

In December 2021, Hill was diagnosed with COVID-19.[71]

In July 2022, Hill declared bankruptcy.[72]

See also[edit]


  1. ^ @KatieHill4CA (January 4, 2022). "So proud to welcome Finn to the world! He made a dramatic entry 7 weeks early but we're so glad he's healthy. Ple…" (Tweet) – via Twitter.
  2. ^ "Daniel Bennett Obituary - Newhall, CA".
  3. ^ Goodyear, Dana (June 12, 2018). "Katie Hill Is a New Kind of California Democrat. Can She Help Flip the House?". The New Yorker.
  4. ^ Wu, Nicholas (November 14, 2019). "Former Rep. Katie Hill says she's 'really, really concerned' for Saugus High School shooting survivors". USA Today. McLean, Virginia. Retrieved November 14, 2019.
  5. ^ Herstein, Olivia (December 17, 2018). "Ms. Hill Goes to Washington". CSUN Today.
  6. ^ "Embattled Rep. Katie Hill's husband claims he got jobs at non-profit where she worked because of her 'influence'". CNBC. October 25, 2019. Retrieved October 28, 2019. [Hill's] employer was concerned about nepotism and how it looked that she was my boss
  7. ^ a b c Dickinson, Tim (October 15, 2018). "Chatting With Millennial Candidate Katie Hill About Flipping One of California's Red Districts". Rolling Stone. Retrieved October 29, 2019.
  8. ^ Holt, Jim (February 23, 2017). "Debate weighs pros and cons of Measure H" The Signal.
  9. ^ a b Pramuk, Jacob (April 4, 2018). "The number of women running for office is rising. 7 first-time House candidates explain why they're running in the age of Trump" CNBC.
  10. ^ Panzar, Javier (March 8, 2017). "Democrat Katie Hill will challenge GOP Rep. Steve Knight in 2018" Los Angeles Times.
  11. ^ Will, George (March 21, 2018). "Fueled by fury against Trump, Democrats dream of turning California bluer". The Washington Post.
  12. ^ "Katie Hill flips CA-25. CA flips the House. Let's make 2018 happen". Daily Kos. April 3, 2017.
  13. ^ "Katie Hill" Ballotpedia. Retrieved August 28, 2018.
  14. ^ Panzar, Javier (May 7, 2018). "Vice News special on California candidate Katie Hill offers unvarnished -- sometimes uncomfortable -- look at campaigning in 2018" Los Angeles Times.
  15. ^ Thomas, Shawna (May 17, 2018). "Inside the 'Most Millennial Campaign Ever' for Congress" Vice News.
  16. ^ Lunetta, Caleb (June 8, 2018). "Katie Hill Vice News Documentary Depicts Days Leading Up To Election Night Victory" KHTS HomeTownStation.
  17. ^ "Obama Campaigns for California Dems, Including Bi Woman Katie Hill". Advocate. September 8, 2018. Retrieved November 11, 2018.
  18. ^ "Katie Hill's Issue Positions (Political Courage Test)" Vote Smart. Retrieved August 28, 2018.
  19. ^ Modesti, Kevin (May 3, 2018). "Katie Hill climbs — literally — in LA area's most-watched House race" Los Angeles Daily News.
  20. ^ Quinlan, Casey (October 31, 2018). "Meet Katie Hill, the millennial who could flip a solidly red California district". ThinkProgress. Retrieved October 29, 2019.
  21. ^ Reynoso, Maria (July 15, 2018). "Young People: If we vote, we can elect Katie Hill in California's 25th Congressional District!". Millennial Politics. Archived from the original on November 8, 2018. Retrieved August 31, 2018.
  22. ^ Brown, Michael (April 16, 2018). "Katie Hill Leads The Pack In Congressional Campaign Finance". KHTS HomeTownStation.
  23. ^ @KatieHill4CA (December 29, 2018). "A story written today mischaracterizes my position, so let's be clear:We won't waste money on an ineffective wall…" (Tweet). Retrieved December 29, 2018 – via Twitter.
  24. ^ Painter, Ryan (January 6, 2019). "Rep. Katie Hill discusses government shutdown with constituents at first town hall". The Santa Clarita Valley Proclaimer. Archived from the original on January 9, 2019. Retrieved January 8, 2019.
  25. ^ "Democrat: I'll vote for border barriers". CNN. January 11, 2019.
  26. ^ Bricker, Brianna (November 29, 2018). "Representative-elect Katie Hill elected to junior leadership role". The Santa Clarita Valley Proclaimer. Archived from the original on January 9, 2019. Retrieved January 8, 2019.
  27. ^ Caitlin Moscatello (March 2, 2020). "Katie Hill, After the Scandal". The New Yorker. Retrieved May 13, 2020. Hill released a statement denying the relationship with Kelly
  28. ^ a b Gambino, Lauren (October 27, 2019). "Katie Hill, Rising Democratic Star, Resigns Amid Claims of Relationship with Staffer". The Guardian. Retrieved October 27, 2019. Last week the House ethics committee opened an investigation into allegations that Hill had engaged in a sexual relationship with her legislative director, Graham Kelly
  29. ^ Lauren Lantry (February 21, 2020). "Reflecting on her 2019 scandal, former Rep. Katie Hill says she still hasn't 'fully recovered'". ABC News. Retrieved May 13, 2020. "Ms. Hill has made no allegations of abuse in her petition for dissolution," Heslep's lawyers told ABC News following the accusations. "Mr. Heslep denies any allegations of abuse or wrongdoing.
  30. ^ Browning, Bil (October 23, 2019). "Was Congresswoman Katie Hill in a throuple relationship with a former campaign staffer?". LGBTQ Nation.
  31. ^ a b Wulfsohn, Joseph (April 9, 2019). "Rep. Katie Hill admits to 'inappropriate' relationship with campaign staffer, vows to cooperate with ethics panel". Fox News. Retrieved October 24, 2019.
  32. ^ a b Serfaty, Sunlen; Lah, Kyung; Foran, Clare; Duster, Chandelis (October 23, 2019). "Katie Hill admits to relationship with campaign staffer after ethics probe announced over separate alleged relationship". CNN. Archived from the original on October 24, 2019. Retrieved October 24, 2019.
  33. ^ Jurecic, Quinta (October 31, 2019). "The Humiliation of Katie Hill Offers a Warning". The Atlantic. Retrieved September 21, 2020. the uncomfortable dynamics of Hill's relationship with a staffer who was almost a decade her junior, and a recent college graduate.
  34. ^ "Katie Hill Tries the Al Franken Defense". Editorial. The Wall Street Journal. November 1, 2019. Retrieved September 21, 2020. ...a relationship with [...] a 22-year-old female subordinate on her payroll
  35. ^ Bresnahan, John; Caygle, Heather (October 22, 2019). "Freshman Dem Katie Hill denies improper relationship with aide". Politico. Retrieved October 23, 2019. Hill said U.S. Capitol Police are now investigating where the nude photo came from and how it was published.
  36. ^ Bresnahan, John (October 23, 2019). "Ethics panel launches investigation into Rep. Katie Hill". Politico. Retrieved October 23, 2019.
  37. ^ "Katie Hill's fast political rise met a quick fall amid shifting politics in #MeToo era". Los Angeles Times. October 28, 2019. Retrieved October 29, 2019. Hill's resignation is the first by a woman in Congress in the wake of the institution's reckoning with the national #MeToo movement against sexual harassment, which prompted a new rule last year banning relationships between members and staffers.
  38. ^ "Katie Hill sex case: #MeToo advocates hold their fire". San Francisco Chronicle. October 25, 2019. Retrieved October 29, 2019. said Hill had a relationship with a member of her congressional staff. Among the #MeToo reforms that passed Congress was a law prohibiting members from having sexual relationships with their staffers.
  39. ^ Dastigi, Alia E. (October 28, 2019). "Katie Hill's resignation is about much more than an alleged affair and explicit photos". USA Today. Retrieved September 21, 2020. Hill, who is in the midst of a messy divorce, has denied an accusation she had an affair with a male congressional staffer — the more serious charge, since it violates new House rules passed in the wake of #MeToo.
  40. ^ Caygle, Heather; Bresnahan, John; Cheney, Kyle (October 27, 2019). "Rep. Katie Hill to resign amid allegations of inappropriate relationships with staffers". Politico.
  41. ^ Wire, Sarah D.; Mai-Duc, Christine; Haberkorn, Jennifer (October 27, 2019). "Democratic Rep. Katie Hill to Resign Amid Allegations of Improper Relationship with Staffer". Los Angeles Times. Retrieved October 27, 2019.
  42. ^ Bowman, Emma (October 27, 2019). "Rep. Katie Hill, Facing An Ethics Investigation, Says She Will Resign". NPR News.
  43. ^ "Katie Hill, California congresswoman, resigns amid allegations of affairs with staff". CBS News. October 28, 2019.
  44. ^ Flynn, Meagan (October 28, 2019). "Katie Hill Vows to Battle Revenge Porn After Resignation Following Leaked Nude Photos". The Washington Post. Retrieved October 28, 2019.
  45. ^ Shugerman, Emily (October 31, 2019). "Rep. Katie Hill Blasts 'Misogynistic Culture' in Exit Speech". The Daily Beast. Retrieved October 31, 2019.
  46. ^ Haddad, Tareq (November 1, 2019). "Watch Katie Hill's defiant resignation speech before backing Trump impeachment inquiry "on behalf of the women of the United States of America"". Newsweek.
  47. ^ Hill, Katie (December 7, 2019). "Katie Hill: It's Not Over After All". Opinion. The New York Times.
  48. ^ Mutnick, Ally (May 8, 2020). "Democrats are on verge of the unthinkable: Losing a swing district in California". Politico. Retrieved May 13, 2020. Hill waded into the race in April with her new PAC, cutting a direct-to-camera TV ad aimed at juicing Democratic turnout. Her $200,000 expenditure caught the DCCC by surprise
  49. ^ Schulberg, Jessica (December 18, 2019). "How Cenk Uygur Threw The Race To Replace Katie Hill Into Chaos". HuffPost.
  50. ^ Barabak, Mark Z. (May 10, 2020). "During the pandemic, Republicans see a rare political opportunity in California". Los Angeles Times. Retrieved May 13, 2020. Hill recently surfaced — to the chagrin of some Democrats — in a video ad criticizing Trump's handling of the pandemic and urging voters to take part in the special election. Privately, party strategists said they would have preferred the ex-congresswoman remain out of sight.
  51. ^ a b Hinchliffe, Emma (August 17, 2020). "Katie Hill on refusing to disengage from politics: 'Change is too important to step out of the arena". Fortune. Retrieved August 17, 2020.
  52. ^ Blankstein, Andrew (December 22, 2020). "Former Rep. Katie Hill sues ex-husband, Daily Mail, Redstate.com over 'nonconsensual porn'". NBC News.
  53. ^ Hall, Louise (April 8, 2021). "Katie Hill says judge 'thinks revenge porn is free speech' in reaction to Daily Mail ruling". The Independent. Retrieved April 8, 2021.
  54. ^ Mehta, Seema (April 8, 2021). "Former Rep. Katie Hill loses first round in her lawsuit alleging revenge porn". Los Angeles Times. Retrieved April 8, 2021.
  55. ^ Rummler, Orion (April 8, 2021). "Former Rep. Katie Hill loses lawsuit against Daily Mail over nude photos". Axios. Retrieved April 8, 2021.
  56. ^ DeMarche, Edmund (June 3, 2021). "Katie Hill ordered to pay $220,000 in lawyer fees in revenge porn suit: report". Fox News. Retrieved June 3, 2021.
  57. ^ Hill, Katie (April 5, 2021). "Matt Gaetz Defended Me When My Nudes Were Shared Without My Consent. Now He's Accused of Doing Just That". Vanity Fair. Retrieved April 8, 2021.
  58. ^ "Ex-Rep. Katie Hill calls on onetime ally Matt Gaetz to resign if there's "a fraction of truth" to allegations". CBS News. April 6, 2021. Retrieved April 8, 2021.
  59. ^ Chan, J. Clara (April 6, 2021). "Katie Hill Calls for 'Unlikely' Friend Matt Gaetz to Promptly Resign if Reports Are True". TheWrap. Retrieved April 8, 2021.
  60. ^ Pengelly, Martin (April 6, 2021). "Katie Hill: Matt Gaetz backed me but he must quit if nude-photo reports are true". The Guardian. New York. Retrieved April 8, 2021.
  61. ^ Ring, Trudy (November 5, 2018). "Bisexual Candidate Katie Hill Challenges a Homophobe for Congress". The Advocate. Retrieved February 27, 2019.
  62. ^ Baume, Matt (November 7, 2018). "Katie Hill Makes History As California's First Openly Bisexual Member of Congress". Intomore.com. Retrieved March 16, 2019.
  63. ^ Bennett, Jessica (August 8, 2020). "The Nudes Aren't Going Away. Katie Hill's OK With That". The New York Times. Retrieved June 25, 2021.
  64. ^ Miller, Lindsay (November 11, 2017). "Katie Hill Is Running for Congress — and Speaking Up About Her Unplanned Pregnancy". Popsugar.
  65. ^ "Former Rep. Katie Hill awarded restraining order against ex-husband". ABC 7 Los Angeles. Associated Press. December 9, 2020. Archived from the original on December 10, 2020. Retrieved December 9, 2020.
  66. ^ Blankstein, Andrew (December 8, 2020). "Judge grants former Rep. Katie Hill temporary restraining order against her ex-husband". NBC News. Retrieved December 9, 2020.
  67. ^ Lah, Kyung (January 4, 2019). "Rep. Hill: I just do what I think is right". CNN. Retrieved October 27, 2019.
  68. ^ "Brother of former Rep. Katie Hill found dead in Los Angeles". January 20, 2020.
  69. ^ Moscatello, Caitlin (March 2, 2020). "Katie Hill, After the Scandal". New York. Retrieved March 4, 2020. By mid-2019, Hill was thriving in her new role in Congress. She'd begun a romantic relationship with Alex Thomas, a political writer
  70. ^ "2 Years After Scandal Unraveled Her Life, Ex-Congresswoman Katie Hill Celebrates 'a Miracle'".
  71. ^ "Former U.S. Representative Katie Hill Diagnosed with COVID-19 While Nearly 8 Months Pregnant: 'Stay Safe'".
  72. ^ Mehta, Seema (July 12, 2022). "Former Rep. Katie Hill, who lost revenge porn lawsuit, files for bankruptcy". Los Angeles Times.

External links[edit]

U.S. House of Representatives
Preceded by Member of the U.S. House of Representatives
from California's 25th congressional district

Succeeded by
U.S. order of precedence (ceremonial)
Preceded byas former U.S. Representative Order of precedence of the United States
as former U.S. Representative
Succeeded byas former U.S. Representative