Katie Hill (politician)

From Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia
Jump to navigation Jump to search

Katie Hill
Katie Hill, official portrait, 116th Congress.jpg
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 33)
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 politician and social services administrator from Agua Dulce, California. She served as the U.S. Representative for California's 25th congressional district from January to November 2019.[1][2] Hill is the former executive director of People Assisting the Homeless (PATH), a statewide non-profit organization working to end homelessness throughout California.[3] She is a member of the Democratic Party. She won her seat by defeating incumbent Republican Steve Knight in the 2018 midterm elections.[4]

On October 18, 2019, RedState, a news blog, published a report on an alleged affair between Hill and a staffer, which, if proven, would be in violation of congressional ethics rules. On October 23, 2019, Hill admitted that she had had an inappropriate relationship with a campaign staffer.[5] On October 27, 2019, Hill announced she would resign from Congress.[6][7] Nude photos of Hill were published by the Daily Mail, a British tabloid. Hill called the release of the photos an invasion of privacy and vowed to advocate for victims of revenge porn.[8][9] Hill resigned on November 3, 2019,[10] and her last day on the floor was two days earlier.[11]

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, is a local registered nurse and her father, Mike, is a police lieutenant.[12] Hill attended public schools in the Santa Clarita Valley and graduated from Saugus High School in 2004.[13] Hill attended California State University, Northridge where she earned a bachelor's degree in English and a Master of Public Administration.[14]

Earlier career[edit]

Hill began her career as a policy advocate at People Assisting the Homeless (PATH), a non-profit 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.[15] Later as the Executive Director for PATH, she raised the organization from a local force in Los Angeles County to one of the largest non-profit providers of homes for the homeless in California.[16] 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.[17][18] Hill and her husband also raised goats in Agua Dulce, California.[16]

U.S. House of Representatives[edit]


Hill speaking at the California Democratic Party State Convention.

On March 8, 2017, Hill announced her candidacy for the United States 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.[4] Knight won re-election in 2016, despite Hillary Clinton's carrying the district by 7%.[19][20]

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 faced incumbent Republican Representative Steve Knight.[21] In the general election, Hill defeated Knight by a 54% vs. 46% tally.

Hill was the subject of a documentary-style series of episodes that aired on the HBO show Vice News Tonight.[22] Vice News Tonight documented the Hill campaign as the "most millennial campaign ever" for Congress.[23] Vice News Tonight reportedly planned on doing a follow-up episode regarding Hill's advancement to the general election.[24] 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.[25]

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.[18][26][27] Hill also stated she supports Medicare for All.[28]

Hill reportedly ran a grassroots campaign that didn't accept money from corporate political action committees.[29] In the first quarter of 2018, Hill 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.[30]

Hill supports comprehensive immigration reform while working towards greater funding and security along the southern border to counter primarily illegal drug trafficking and other various crimes. Hill also supports some form of physical barrier along certain areas of the southern border.[31][32][33]

According to an October 2018 article in Rolling Stone, Hill is a gun owner, saying, "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."[16]


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.[34]

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 male legislative director, Graham Kelly. Hill denied allegations of a relationship with Kelly,[35] 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.[36] Her husband denied the allegations of abuse and Hill's subsequent marriage dissolution petition did not allege abuse nor wrongdoing.[37]

Hill reached out to the Speaker of the House of Representatives Nancy Pelosi to deny the allegations.[38] 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.[39]


The House Ethics Committee announced on October 23, 2019, that it would conduct an investigation into the allegation that Hill had an affair with a male staffer,[40] which, if true, would be in violation of House ethics reforms that were implemented in 2018 in response to the #MeToo movement.[41][42][43] On that same day, Hill sent an email to constituents in which she admitted to an "inappropriate relationship" with a campaign staffer before becoming a representative (hence out of scope of the Congressional investigation) and promised to cooperate with the Congressional ethics investigation regarding allegations of wrongdoing as a member of Congress.[44][45] The earlier relationship Hill admitted to was with a 22-year-old female subordinate recently out of college.[46][47]


On October 27, Hill announced via Twitter that she would resign from Congress.[7][48] She wrote, "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."[49] Speaker of the House Nancy Pelosi said Hill made "some errors in judgment that made her continued service as a Member untenable."[50] Hill has vowed to combat revenge porn after photos of her were leaked.[51]


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. In the address to Congress she said, "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."[52] She closed by saying, "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."[53]

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.[54]


In the special election held in the spring of 2020, Hill endorsed State Assemblywoman Christy Smith, who ultimately lost the election. Hill, whose PAC contributed $200,000,[55] 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."[56] Some Democrats regretted Hill's involvement in the campaign.[57]

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.[58]

In December 2020, Hill filed a lawsuit against her ex-husband, the Daily Mail, and RedState over ‘non consensual porn’.[59]

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.[60] She was California's first openly bisexual person to be elected to Congress.[61][62]

In July 2010, Hill married Kenny Heslep, an artist. They resided in Agua Dulce, California, on their farm, where they fostered rescue animals.[63] By July 2019, Hill was in a romantic relationship with Alex Thomas, a political reporter.[64] Hill also rented an apartment in Washington, D.C., with freshman representative Lauren Underwood.[65] Heslep filed for divorce in 2019.[36] Their divorce was quietly settled in October, 2020. No allegations of abuse were made in the divorce court documents. In December 2020, a judge awarded Hill a restraining order against her ex-husband.[66][67]

In August 2020, Hill released a book, She Will Rise: Becoming a Warrior in the Battle for True Equality, in which she shares her experiences from her time in politics.[58]

See also[edit]


  1. ^ Kiskan, Tom (November 8, 2018). "Election results 2018: Katie Hill headed to Congress after incumbent Steve Knight concedes". Ventura County Star.
  2. ^ Finnegan, Michael (November 8, 2018). "Republican Rep. Steve Knight concedes to newcomer Katie Hill in north L.A. County district". Los Angeles Times.
  3. ^ Ender, Gina (March 8, 2017)"Katie Hill announces candidacy for congress" The Signal.
  4. ^ a b Panzar, Javier (March 8, 2017). "Democrat Katie Hill will challenge GOP Rep. Steve Knight in 2018" Los Angeles Times.
  5. ^ Wulfsohn, Joseph A. (October 23, 2019). "Rep. Katie Hill admits to 'inappropriate' relationship with campaign staffer, vows to cooperate with ethics panel". Fox News. New York City: Fox Corporation. Retrieved April 9, 2020.
  6. ^ Schultz, Marisa; Garger, Kenneth (October 27, 2019). "Rep. Katie Hill resigns amid snowballing 'throuple' scandal". New York Post. Archived from the original on October 28, 2019. Retrieved October 28, 2019.
  7. ^ a b "Rep. Katie Hill to resign amid allegations of inappropriate relationships with staffers". Politico. October 27, 2019.
  8. ^ Lerer, Lisa (October 28, 2019). "The Revenge Porn Debate Reaches Washington". The New York Times. New York City. ISSN 0362-4331. Retrieved October 29, 2019.
  9. ^ Hagen, Lisa (October 29, 2019). "The problem Katie Hill's resignation poses for Democrats". US News and World Report.
  10. ^ "Biographical Directory of the U.S. Congress - Retro Member details". bioguideretro.congress.gov.
  11. ^ Behrmann, Savannah (October 31, 2019). "Rep. Katie Hill's last day in Congress will be Friday following resignation amid ethics investigation". Tallahassee Democrat.
  12. ^ Goodyear, Dana (June 12, 2018). "Katie Hill Is a New Kind of California Democrat. Can She Help Flip the House?". The New Yorker.
  13. ^ 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.
  14. ^ Herstein, Olivia (December 17, 2018). "Ms. Hill Goes to Washington". CSUN Today.
  15. ^ "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
  16. ^ 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.
  17. ^ Holt, Jim (February 23, 2017). "Debate weighs pros and cons of Measure H" The Signal.
  18. ^ 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.
  19. ^ Will, George (March 21, 2018). Thus, the district remains a top get for democrats to flip in 2018. "Fueled by fury against Trump, Democrats dream of turning California bluer" The Washington Post.
  20. ^ "Katie Hill flips CA-25. CA flips the House. Let's make 2018 happen." Daily Kos. (April 3, 2017).
  21. ^ "Katie Hill" Ballotpedia. Retrieved August 28, 2018.
  22. ^ 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.
  23. ^ Thomas, Shawna (May 17, 2018). "Inside the 'Most Millennial Campaign Ever' for Congress" Vice News.
  24. ^ Lunetta, Caleb (June 8, 2018). "Katie Hill Vice News Documentary Depicts Days Leading Up To Election Night Victory" KHTS HomeTownStation.
  25. ^ "Obama Campaigns for California Dems, Including Bi Woman Katie Hill". September 8, 2018. Retrieved November 11, 2018.
  26. ^ "Katie Hill's Issue Positions (Political Courage Test)" Vote Smart. Retrieved August 28, 2018.
  27. ^ Modesti, Kevin (May 3, 2018). "Katie Hill climbs — literally — in LA area's most-watched House race" Los Angeles Daily News.
  28. ^ Quinlan, Casey (October 31, 2018). "Meet Katie Hill, the millennial who could flip a solidly red California district". ThinkProgress. Retrieved October 29, 2019.
  29. ^ Reynoso, Maria (July 15, 2018) "Young People: If we vote, we can elect Katie Hill in California's 25th Congressional District!" Millennial Politics.
  30. ^ Brown, Michael (April 16, 2018). "Katie Hill Leads The Pack In Congressional Campaign Finance" KHTS HomeTownStation.
  31. ^ Hill, Katie (December 28, 2018). "A story written today mischaracterizes my position, so let's be clear: We won't waste money on an ineffective wall. We do have to work across the aisle on effective border security, pursue long term immigration reform & stop playing political games that shut down the government". @KatieHill4CA. Retrieved December 29, 2018.
  32. ^ Painter, Ryan (January 6, 2019). "Rep. Katie HIll discusses government shutdown with constituents at first town hall". The Santa Clarita Valley Proclaimer.
  33. ^ "Democrat: I'll vote for border barriers". CNN.
  34. ^ Bricker, Brianna (November 29, 2018). "Representative-elect Katie Hill elected to junior leadership role". The Santa Clarita Valley Proclaimer.
  35. ^ 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
  36. ^ 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
  37. ^ 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
  38. ^ Browning, Bil (October 23, 2019). "Was Congresswoman Katie Hill in a throuple relationship with a former campaign staffer?". LGBTQ Nation.
  39. ^ "Freshman Dem Katie Hill denies improper relationship with aide". Politico. October 22, 2019. Retrieved October 23, 2019. Hill said U.S. Capitol Police are now investigating where the nude photo came from and how it was published.
  40. ^ Bresnahan, John (October 23, 2019). "Ethics panel launches investigation into Rep. Katie Hill". Politico. Retrieved October 23, 2019.
  41. ^ "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.
  42. ^ "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.
  43. ^ Dastigir, 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.
  44. ^ "Rep. Katie Hill admits to 'inappropriate' relationship with campaign staffer, vows to cooperate with ethics panel". Fox News. April 9, 2019. Retrieved October 24, 2019.
  45. ^ "Katie Hill admits to relationship with campaign staffer after ethics probe announced over separate alleged relationship". CNN. October 23, 2019. Archived from the original on October 24, 2019. Retrieved October 24, 2019.
  46. ^ 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.
  47. ^ "Katie Hill Tries the Al Franken Defense". Editorial. Wall Street Journal. November 1, 2019. Retrieved September 21, 2020. ...a relationship with [...] a 22-year-old female subordinate on her payroll
  48. ^ Wire, Sarah D.; Mai-Duc, Christine; Haberkorn, Jennifer (October 27, 2019). "Democratic Rep. Katie Hill to Resign Amid Allegations of Improper Relationship with Staffer". The Los Angeles Times. Retrieved October 27, 2019.
  49. ^ Bowman, Emma (October 27, 2019). "Rep. Katie Hill, Facing An Ethics Investigation, Says She Will Resign". NPR News.
  50. ^ "Katie Hill, California congresswoman, resigns amid allegations of affairs with staff". CBS News.
  51. ^ 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.
  52. ^ Shugerman, Emily (October 31, 2019). "Rep. Katie Hill Blasts 'Misogynistic Culture' in Exit Speech". The Daily Beast. Retrieved October 31, 2019.
  53. ^ 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.
  54. ^ Hill, Katie (December 7, 2019). "Katie Hill: It's Not Over After All". Opinion. The New York Times.
  55. ^ 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
  56. ^ Jessica Schulberg (December 18, 2019). "How Cenk Uygur Threw The Race To Replace Katie Hill Into Chaos". HuffPost.
  57. ^ 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.
  58. ^ 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.
  59. ^ "Andrew Blankstein (December 22,2020) "Former Rep. Katie Hill sues ex-husband, Daily Mail, Redstate.com over 'nonconsensual porn'"".
  60. ^ Ring, Trudy (November 5, 2018). "Bisexual Candidate Katie Hill Challenges a Homophobe for Congress". The Advocate. Retrieved February 27, 2019.
  61. ^ "Ten Women Leaders Breaking Barriers for Bisexual Representation". Hrc.org. Human Rights Campaign. Retrieved March 16, 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. ^ Miller, Lindsay (November 11, 2017). "Katie Hill Is Running for Congress — and Speaking Up About Her Unplanned Pregnancy". Popsugar.
  64. ^ 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
  65. ^ Lah, Kyung (January 4, 2019). "Rep. Hill: I just do what I think is right". CNN. Retrieved October 27, 2019.
  66. ^ "Former Rep. Katie Hill awarded restraining order against ex-husband". ABC 7 Los Angeles. Associated Press. December 9, 2020. Retrieved December 9, 2020.
  67. ^ Blankstein, Andrew (December 8, 2020). "Judge grants former Rep. Katie Hill temporary restraining order against her ex-husband". NBC News. Retrieved December 9, 2020.

External links[edit]

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

Succeeded by
Mike Garcia