|Member of the U.S. House of Representatives|
from California's 25th district
January 3, 2019 – November 3, 2019
|Preceded by||Steve Knight|
|Succeeded by||Mike Garcia|
Katherine Lauren Hill
August 25, 1987
Abilene, Texas, U.S.
(m. 2010; div. 2019)
|Education||College 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 news blog, published a report on an alleged affair between Hill and her Legislative Director, which they both deny. 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 she would resign from Congress. 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. She resigned on November 3, 2019; her last day on the floor was two days earlier.
In June 2021, Hill was ordered to pay $220,000 to the Daily Mail and other media, to reimburse the legal fees these companies spent defending themselves against her accusations.
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. Hill attended public schools in the Santa Clarita Valley and graduated from Saugus High School in 2004. She attended California State University, Northridge where she earned a bachelor's degree in English and a Master of Public Administration.
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. 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. 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. Hill and her husband also raised goats in Agua Dulce, California.
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. Knight won re-election in 2016, despite Hillary Clinton's carrying the district by 7%.
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. In the general election, she defeated Knight by a 54% vs. 46% tally.
She was the subject of a documentary-style series of episodes that aired on the HBO show Vice News Tonight. The series documented the Hill campaign as the "most millennial campaign ever" for Congress. Vice News Tonight reportedly planned on doing a follow-up episode regarding Hill's advancement to the general election. 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.
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. She also stated her support for Medicare for All.
Hill reportedly ran a grassroots campaign that didn't accept money from corporate political action committees. 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.
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. She also supports some form of physical barrier along certain areas of the southern border.
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."
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.
On October 18, 2019, the conservative political blog RedState published allegations that Hill was involved in an extramarital affair with her male legislative director. Hill denied such allegations, 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. Her husband denied the allegations of abuse. Hill reached out to the Speaker of the House of Representatives Nancy Pelosi to deny the allegations.
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. The relationship was with a 22-year-old female subordinate recently out of college. 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.
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 legislative director, which, if true, would be in violation of House ethics reforms that were implemented in 2018 in response to the #MeToo movement. Hill promised to cooperate with the Congressional ethics investigation regarding allegations of wrongdoing as a member of Congress.
On October 27, Hill announced via Twitter that she would resign from Congress. 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." Speaker of the House Nancy Pelosi said Hill made "some errors in judgment that made her continued service as a Member untenable." Hill vowed to combat revenge porn after photos of her were leaked. 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." 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."
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.
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, 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." Some Democrats regretted Hill's involvement in the campaign.
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.
In December 2020, Hill filed a lawsuit against her ex-husband, the Daily Mail, and RedState over "non consensual porn". 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 say they plan to appeal the decision. The judge also ordered Hill to pay roughly $220,000 in fees to the Daily Mail and a couple of journalists.
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. Gaetz had supported Hill after the leak of her photos, and Hill called him an "unlikely friend" during their time in Congress.
|Republican||Steve Knight (incumbent)||61,411||51.8|
|Republican||Steve Knight (incumbent)||111,813||45.6|
|Democratic gain from Republican|
Hill came out as bisexual after high school. She was California's first openly bisexual person to be elected to Congress.
She 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.
In July 2010, Hill married Kenny Heslep, who she began dating just after high school. They resided in Agua Dulce, California, on their farm, where they fostered rescue animals. Heslep filed for divorce in 2019 and the divorce was settled in October 2020. In December 2020, a judge awarded Hill a restraining order against her ex-husband. By July 2019, Hill was in a romantic relationship with Alex Thomas, a writer. Hill also rented an apartment in Washington, D.C., with freshman representative Lauren Underwood.
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.
Hill released a statement denying the relationship with Kelly
[Hill's] employer was concerned about nepotism and how it looked that she was my boss
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
"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
the uncomfortable dynamics of Hill's relationship with a staffer who was almost a decade her junior, and a recent college graduate.
...a relationship with [...] a 22-year-old female subordinate on her payroll
Hill said U.S. Capitol Police are now investigating where the nude photo came from and how it was published.
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.
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.
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.
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
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.
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By mid-2019, Hill was thriving in her new role in Congress. She'd begun a romantic relationship with Alex Thomas, a political writer