Part 1 of 2
By Katie Hill
I hope you’ve enjoyed the last month and a half since the election – my mom conveyed to me the relief of turning on her TV without seeing my face during every commercial break. Wherever you fall on the political spectrum, I’m sure you agree!
While the holidays are gearing up, I’ve spent the last few weeks on the road at new member orientation, which we often refer to as, “Congress Camp.”
I cannot explain just how incredible the people are who make up this incoming class – it’s larger, younger, and more diverse than ever and I am humbled to be a part of it. The freshmen vary ideologically and politically, but I can already tell that together, we are capable of getting so much done for the communities we represent.
It’s kind of funny just how much new member orientation feels like college. Immediately, I was swept into seminars teaching us the basics of Congress, and receptions that are pretty much just fancy name games. I found a roommate (another freshman member, Lauren Underwood) and picked my office choice based on which building has the best cafeteria (very soon you’ll be able to visit us in Longworth 1130).
A few critical things happen quickly during new member orientation: Committee assignments and leadership votes.
While committee assignments haven’t been announced yet, I want to make sure you know about my priorities. My first choice committee is Armed Services, because of how vital it is to our district – not only do we have more veterans per capita than almost anywhere else, our local economy is also directly linked to our military. I hope to give you some news on my assignments in the next few weeks.
As we await committee assignments and swearing-in, there was one thing the freshmen members from California couldn’t wait on: to address the wildfires across the state. In a letter sent to the president, I led an effort to request additional federal aid for the California fire relief. It’s unusual for members-elect to begin making federal requests before being sworn in. However, the devastating fires that have swept through our communities are an exception. When we came to Washington, we promised that we would start fighting for you on day one, and that’s exactly what the members-elect from California are doing.
Next at new member orientation was the leadership vote. There are many roles on the congressional leadership team, but traditionally freshmen don’t hold much power. This year is different. Our class was sent to Washington with a mandate for change – it’s clear that the American people don’t want more of the same, and because of that, our class will have two representatives to House leadership. I am proud that my classmates elected me to be co-representative, alongside Joe Neguse. Together, we will make sure that the issues that matter to us most right here at home are the issues we focus on nationally.
I’m going to Washington to shape the conversation, and to ensure that with the power given to me by our community, we can make our government work for us again.
You can count on me to ask tough questions, make bold moves and ensure your voice is heard.
The first piece of legislation that will be brought to the floor will be H.R.1 of the 116th Congress. It’s a bill that will remove voting obstacles, so every vote and every voice is heard. It will push ethics and accountability reform, so public servants honor the public trust and Washington stops being run by insider influence. And, it will make strides toward finally getting big money out of our elections.
Throughout my campaign, I made it clear that more than anything, we need to restore faith and trust in government – passing H.R.1 is a critical first step. I was proud to be selected as the first member-elect to deliver the Democratic Weekly Address, where I spoke about the importance of this bill.
Over the last few weeks, every time I felt homesick or exhausted, I thought about our community, and how proud I am to bring your voice and priorities to Washington. Thank you for trusting me with this enormous responsibility. Let’s get to work.
Katie Hill, D-Agua Dulce, is the representative-elect for the 25th Congressional District, which includes the Santa Clarita and Antelope valleys. Part 2 is scheduled to appear next Sunday.