A sold out, standing room only crowd gathered at Burke Triolo Studio in South Pasadena Wednesday evening to hear from Democratic congressional candidate, Katie Hill, who delivered a passionate message of working on behalf of the people and not special interests. Hill’s campaign is gaining momentum as recent polling suggests she would beat Steve Knight by 13 points if the election were held today. But first she must get through what is turning out to be a tough primary.
Indivisible South Pasadena and Feminists in Action hosted the event here in South Pasadena because one of their primary goals is to assist in flipping districts from red to blue in 2018. Jeff Burke offered his grand studio space as a venue because, as he explains, “Lorraine and I are behind the progressive movement and as you can tell by my shirt (it reads “resist”), we do whatever we can to help the cause. Our doors are always open for progressive candidates and to people who hope to move the national government more in the direction that the state is already moving towards.”
Hill was introduced by Congresswoman Judy Chu, who recently endorsed her, by saying “we are bound and determined to take the House back and that means 24 seats that we need to turn from red to blue and people in DC are depending on California to provide the bulk of those changes. We know we can win Steve Knight’s seat with the right candidate and that candidate is indeed Katie Hill.” Chu went on to talk to tell us that Hill’s father is a police officer and her mother is a nurse and that she has lived in Santa Clarita her whole life. Chu also told the crowd “she has dedicated her life to solving the problem of homelessness.” Hill has been the executive director and deputy CEO of PATH (People Assisting the Homeless) and has been endorsed by Emily’s List, The Feminist Majority, The Women’s Political Committee, The Suburban Women’s Action Network, and The Stonewall Democratic Club among others.
Hill then took to the stage and spoke further on why she’s running and what she stands for. She had no political aspirations but after dedicating her life in the non-profit sector working on the issue of homelessness, working on Prop HHH and Measure H., and after the 2016 election, those around her began encouraging her to run for Steve Knight’s seat. Knight had beat the Democrat by 6 points even though Hillary Clinton had won the district by 7 points. They knew she had what it would take to unseat him and Hill decided it was time to do something to make an impact and on March 8th of 2017, she announced her candidacy. It’s a decidedly grassroots campaign that is gaining tremendous momentum in recent weeks with the release of the aforementioned polling and significant endorsements.
Hill described having an epiphany while in nursing school, working in an emergency room as a 17 year old when she held the hand of a young gang member as he died and how she comforted his sister all through the night. She says she realized then, “that it’s the social issues that land people in the emergency room, not necessarily a health problem in the first place. It’s all of these other issues; foster care, criminal justice reform, drug and mental health issues and this entire lack of a middle class that we used to have that lands people in the emergency room.” At that point she shifted from nursing to social issues working with foster youth and eventually landing at PATH.
She went on to talk about the key issues she cares about including the health and safety of our communities, fighting to make sure every single person has the access and ability to afford healthcare, women’s health including a woman’s right to choose, senior health and welfare, mental health and substance abuse, sensible gun control, fighting for the middle class and making college affordable to all. Hill went into further detail on each of these issues including taking questions from the audience.
Tracy Van Houten, who ran for congress this past year, said, “I’ve been supporting Katie Hill almost as long as she’s been in this race and I see the same passion in her to do what’s right and she really cares about her district. I’ve unlocked a lot of my network to her and I support her as part of that wave that’s going to take control of congress in 2018. I’m one of her biggest fans and I will knock on doors for her and phone bank and whatever it takes.” Echoing her niece was Lissa Reynolds saying, “I will definitely make phone calls for her! We need more Katie Hills in the world.”
Tanya Parker of Indivisible said of the evening, “I’m thrilled by the turnout. Everyone was very energized by what Katie had to say. It seems obvious to everyone that she really is a perfect candidate to be able to flip the district; being from the district, being young (Hill is 31), energetic, she’s got the passion. I loved what she said about being a gun owner because I know that’s important in the district. It’s easy for those of us who don’t own guns to talk about gun control but coming from her it will mean a lot more because she can see both sides so I think she’s going to be a great candidate. What I want out of tonight is for all these people who are really excited, to join her campaign, to be boots on the ground to get her elected in November.”
For more information on Katie Hill visit her website at KatieHillForCongress.com