Katie Hill | Priorities: A Look Ahead to the 116th Congress

U.S. Rep Katie Hill/Signal file photo
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Part 2 of 2

By Katie Hill

Congresswoman-Elect

For everyone who celebrated, I hope you enjoyed your Christmas! My mom worked the overnight shift and got off at 7 a.m. on Christmas Day, only to turn around and host our family gathering. I know many of you had hectic holiday schedules of your own!

Last week, I updated you on what I’ve been up to this past month. But with the opening day of the 116th Congress just a few days away, I wanted to let you know some of the plans my team has in store.

I’m so proud to let you know I’ve hired some key staff who will be essential in paving the way for our success.

My chief of staff will be Emily Burns, a purpose-driven leader with eight years of policy-making experience. She brings an in-depth knowledge of the House Armed Services Committee and the Transportation & Infrastructure Committee, helping to develop landmark legislation like the most recent five-year transportation authorization bill and the annual defense authorization acts. Emily spent the last few weeks of the election here getting to know the 25th, organizing community events in Santa Clarita and throughout our district.

Alongside Emily, I’ve hired Angela Giacchetti to serve as my district director. Some of you may remember Angela — she ran the field operation in Santa Clarita. With her proven track record of growing engaged communities, scaling operations and working collaboratively to launch successful programs, we are going to have some of the best constituent services in the country.

Our goal was to retain all three of Rep. Steve Knight’s district offices in Simi Valley, Santa Clarita and the Antelope Valley. However, we were only able to renew the leases in Simi and Palmdale. Thank you for bearing with us as we find a permanent home in Santa Clarita. We are ready to get our doors open and start giving this community our very best.

I also plan to advance the goals of our communities by joining congressional caucuses that are aligned with our priorities. As the only member of Congress with a background in homelessness services, I’m excited to bring my expertise to the Congressional Homelessness Caucus. I mentioned last week that I hope to be on the Armed Services Committee because of how many veterans we have in our district — for the same reason, I’m looking forward to serving on a caucus like the Veterans Jobs Caucus. My personal experience will also benefit me on caucuses like the bipartisan Congressional Caucus for Women’s Issues and LGBT Equality Caucus.

The Democratic Party truly is a “big tent” that represents a lot of diversity in race, class and ideology. This diversity is what makes us strong, and I’ve never thought my views could be put into one box. That’s why I’m proud to be a part of both the New Democrat Coalition and the Congressional Progressive Caucus.

The New Democrat Coalition represents the more moderate wing of our party, committed to achieving results through negotiating deals. I’m looking forward to working with them for tangible change on some of our biggest hurdles, like lowering the cost of prescription drugs.

The Congressional Progressive Caucus members are forward thinkers who are committed to changing the system. I can’t wait to work with them on rolling back the damage we’ve done to our climate and our planet, and building a health care system that works for everyone.

It’s important that when we search for solutions, we look at all sides of an issue. The caucuses I’m joining show my continuing commitment to that idea and demonstrate my willingness to work with everyone – we’re only as strong as our ability to get over gridlock and get to work.

Solutions and effectiveness have never been more sorely needed in government than they are right now, after several weeks of unprecedented instability and the ongoing government shutdown. We have seen our president prioritize politics and his personal agenda over our safety, livelihood and best interests, and I’m angry that it won’t be our elected officials in Washington who pay the price.

Instead, it’s people like our Forest Service firefighters, TSA agents, and law enforcement and corrections officers. Some 380,000 federal workers have been forced to take mandatory unpaid time off, and 420,000 have been forced to come to work without pay. I support legislative efforts to guarantee back pay, but nothing can make up for the uncertainty they’ve endured.

If the system doesn’t work for us, it’s on us to change it, and we can only do that with a seat at the table. With a strong team behind me, and support from all of you, I am ready to get to work for this community, starting day one.

Katie Hill, D-Agua Dulce, is the representative-elect for the 25th Congressional District, which includes the Santa Clarita and Antelope valleys. 

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