Katie Hill, Executive Director and Deputy CEO of PATH, a statewide nonprofit organization working to end homelessness presents the benefits of Measure H during a debate hosted by The Santa Clarita Valley Signal at the College of the Canyons University Feb. 23. Dan Watson/The Signal
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According to new congressional candidate Katie Hill, her run for representative of the 25th district is not at all about her political party preference. She said her upbringing in the Santa Clarita Valley and career in the nonprofit sector make her a viable option to both Democrats and Republicans.

But for the record, she’ll be running as a Democrat.

Raised by a police officer and a nurse, Hill said she believes she represents the heart of the middle class.

“We are what America is supposed to be,” Hill said about her family. “Neither party has had answers, especially regarding middle class families.”

For Hill, these family ideals are at the root of who she is. She said if she were elected, she’d likely come home from Washington D.C. every week to see her loved ones.

She also said the ethics instilled in her by her parents mean she’ll run a clean campaign.

“I won’t say anything about someone that I wouldn’t say to their face,” she said. “I won’t ever sign off on campaign ads that are negative or derogatory.”

Despite growing up in a family of all Republicans, Hill said her work as Deputy CEO of PATH, a nonprofit that combats homelessness, has made her value government involvement in businesses.

“I understand intimately how government works while being outside of it,” Hill said.

Before deciding to work in the nonprofit sector, Hill said she planned to be a nurse like her mother and both of her grandmothers. When volunteering at a couple hospitals, including Henry Mayo Newhall Hospital, Hill held a gang member’s hand while he was dying and spent time with a homeless man who had HIV.

Hill said these experiences made her want to get to the root of problems before they worsened and people died.

“Tragedy in our society can be prevented on a systematic level with the right policies,” she said.

PATH’s Deputy CEO also said her experience with the organization has helped her manage budgets and people well, as she grew the company from $5 million to $50 million, making her literally a professional fundraiser, as she ran a team of 400 people.

It was not until Hill was repeatedly approached by people suggesting she run for office that she considered politics, she said. But, even if she does not win, she wants voters to feel like they have options of different types of candidates.

Nothing upsets Hill more about elections than voters feeling like they have to pick the lesser of two evils and not actually picking a candidate they support, she said.

“I think we’ve lost engagement with people caring about politics because they’re sick of the system,” she said. “I’m not a politician, and that’s the kind of campaign I want to run.”

Despite her lack of experience in office, Hill said she is aiming high by running for congress instead of a local or state position.

“For me, it’s where I can have the biggest impact,” Hill said. “I’m not the executive director of a $50 million organization by waiting my turn.”

Hill feels her face-to-face interaction with voters will be crucial to her campaign, as she wants to get to know people’s needs and concerns. However, she said she already feels she fundamentally understands the district because she is a native.

“I feel like there is nothing in this community that I don’t get,” she said.

With this knowledge of the area, Hill said she wants to make education from preschool through college, housing and healthcare all more affordable.

In regard to hot button national topics, Hill said she believes there should be immigration reform in the United States, but believes President’s Trump’s idea of building a wall along the Mexican border, for instance, is a waste of money.

“I think if you build a wall, people are going to bring ladders,” Hill said. “We have to have a compassionate approach to those who have lived and worked here for years.”

Additionally, she said that in the absence of intelligence briefs, she does not know for certain that the nation needs to increase military spending as Trump suggests, but does not think it should be cut either. As Hill comes from a long line of military veterans, she said she is a proponent of the armed forces and said one of her biggest life regrets is not joining the military herself.

“I’m a big supporter of the military,” Hill said. “But, I am not someone who thinks we need to be getting into conflicts everywhere. I’m conscious about that.”

gender@signalscv.com
661-287-5525
On Twitter as @ginaender

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Gina Ender
Gina Ender is a journalist covering city government and breaking news in the Santa Clarita Valley. She joined The Signal as a staff writer in February 2017.
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