By Katie Hill
“The people that say this isn’t a good economy, I don’t know where they’re living.”
I read that quote from our representative, Steve Knight, in a recent LAist article and to be honest… I don’t know where he’s living, either.
Politicians like Steve Knight are intimately familiar with how the economy looks from the perspective of their corporate donors — and let’s be honest, corporations and the top 1 percent of this country are really happy that the current Congress cut their taxes by billions of dollars at our expense.
But the stock market isn’t the economy, and that’s one of the biggest reasons I’m running for Congress against Rep. Knight.
In my time as the executive director of the state’s largest provider of homelessness services, PATH, I learned exactly how disproportionately our current economy affects the most vulnerable members of our district.
My work made me intimately familiar with some of the toughest problems we face as a community and I’ve been to every corner of CA-25 to figure out how we can solve them.
I’ve talked to single mothers in Palmdale, who are struggling to deal with the cost of housing — which is exponentially rising, much faster than wages.
I’ve spoken to families in Simi Valley, who are surprised to find out that despite the fact that Congress is boasting about tax cuts for the middle class, they’ll actually be paying more next April since they can’t write off their state and local tax deductions anymore.
I’ve even discussed health care costs with students in Santa Clarita, who are terrified that they’ll bankrupt their parents if they get sick or hurt.
Here in our district, wages are stagnant. Housing, health care and college tuition costs are rising. Eighty percent of Americans live paycheck to paycheck and, despite holding all the cards in Washington, Steve Knight and his party failed to deliver on their promises for our community. We’re paying the price.
Knight voted to pass a tax plan that gives the richest Americans huge tax cuts and hurts certain states more than others. California is one of them.
This bill was such a bad deal for California, many thought Knight would vote no — other Republicans who are representing California districts listened to their constituents, stood up to their party and figured out that this was a bad deal. Knight didn’t.
In 2015, about half of the families in our district deducted state and local taxes. Come April 15, 2019, a lot of families here will realize that those huge tax cuts Knight is bragging about weren’t really for us.
Of course, by then, this election will be over.
Right here, right now, Steve Knight thinks no one in our district is hurting. He keeps saying that there are more jobs than people to fill them. He talks about an economy that is solid and steadfast. But the people I’m talking to every day aren’t feeling that.
Many people where I’m from are working two to three jobs to keep up with rising housing costs. My sister owns a small business in Santa Clarita, and I have watched the struggles she has faced at every step of the process. We aren’t setting up our workers or our small business owners for success.
Health care costs remain the No. 1 issue I hear about when I’m talking to voters.
Last year, Steve Knight voted for a health care overhaul that would have resulted in millions of people losing their medical coverage, and has voted to repeal all or part of the Affordable Care Act nine times, which would have increased health care costs and made it impossible for those who have preexisting conditions to get affordable coverage.
If Knight was actually in touch with our district or made us a priority, he would know that this tax bill, his health care votes, and his Washington agenda are unpopular, that they’re hurting our community, and that the people of our district deserve someone who will fight for us, not their party bosses or the special interests who fund their campaigns.
I wasn’t born into a political family. I’m not beholden to any corporations or the billionaires who own them. And I can’t sit by while Steve Knight says that no one in our community is hurting when we all know that’s not true.
I’m running for Congress because I’m ready to fight for us. It’s not about the partisan politics we’re all so sick of – it’s about doing what’s right for this community, right now.
Katie Hill is the Democratic challenger for the 25th Congressional District.