Investigative reporter tabbed as 38th’s Woman of the Year

Melanie Hicken, middle, was honored as the 38th Assembly District's Woman of the Year.
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Assemblywoman Christy Smith, D-Santa Clarita, has recognized Melanie Hicken as the 38th Assembly District’s Woman of the Year.

The annual celebration honors a woman from each Assembly District at the State Capitol, according to a news release from Smith’s office. Every honoree is introduced on the Assembly floor and receives a resolution honoring her accomplishments. The event has been a Capitol tradition since 1987, but this is the first time Smith, a freshman lawmaker, has selected a recipient.

Hicken works as an award-winning investigative reporter for CNN, where her work has exposed everything from widespread sexual abuse in nursing homes to one of the longest-running scams in history, the news release stated. Hicken’s stories have also helped inspire legislative action and government investigations.

“Melanie is a trailblazer in investigative reporting, protecting the public by bringing transparency into the most difficult of issues,” Smith said in Monday’s release. “Ms. Hicken leads her community not only in her journalism, but also by contributing to the next generation.”

The proud graduate of William S. Hart High School tries to speak to and mentor local students as much as possible, according to the release, which is one of the many reasons why she was selected for the award.

Hicken said Monday, “I’m honored to be selected for such a prestigious honor. It was an incredible event.”

With her daughter, husband and family in attendance, Hicken accepted a resolution from the Assembly floor acknowledging her efforts and prior awards.

“I was just amazed at everyone in the room. Hearing what they’ve done and how they’ve contributed is special,” Hicken said. “I’m just really happy to live in a state that honors women in this way. Especially in women’s history month, it’s a great time to learn about how all of these people have given back.”

Hicken is also the co-author of the book, “A Deal with the Devil,” which chronicles her and longtime reporting partner Blake Ellis’s efforts to get to the bottom of a $200 million case of consumer fraud that preyed on elderly victims for decades.

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