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Katie Hill’s Primary Opponents Look Back at her First Six Months

| News | August 1, 2019

Earlier this month, Rep. Katie Hill marked six months in office. Meanwhile, her primary opponents expressed ranges of dissatisfaction with her performance.

Hill (D-Agua Dulce) listed nine accomplishments in a press release. They range from the mundane (opening district offices, attending town halls, community forums and community events) to her leadership positions, to the various pieces of legislation she either led or voted on that had passed.

She introduced five bills, one of which passed the House but remains in a Senate committee. That’s House Resolution 1064, which expands whistleblower protections to include talking to a supervisor in the employee’s direct chain of command up to, and including, the head of the employing agency, or to an employee designated to receive such disclosures.

Another bill, HR 1015, calling for a St. Francis Dam memorial to be built, became part of a public lands package that President Trump signed. It’s the only piece of Hill-sponsored legislation to become law.

Hill also wrote four amendments that passed out of committees and one amendment that passed out of the House. That was for HR 3055, which increases federal firefighting funds by $7 million that is paid for by decreasing a different fund by the same amount. The bill has yet to be assigned to a Senate committee.

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“The work that we’re able to do on the local level – accomplishing our community priorities and performing constituent services – are my top priorities. Even in a divided government, we can come together and get things done for our district,” Hill said in a statement. “I’m proud to use my positions in leadership to advocate for our community at the highest possible levels and I look forward to many more years of success, together.”

The first accomplishment listed is for 204 constituent cases opened, 72 cases completed (51 successfully) and $336,773.96 in total benefits for constituents.

District Director Angela Giacchetti explained that, while every case is different, all are related to problems with federal agencies. Hill’s constituent problems mostly deal with departments related to veterans’ affairs and immigration, Giacchetti said.

Many constituents sought help securing VA-related survivor or Medicare benefits, or getting visas to travel to a foreign country to attend a family funeral, she said.

“Usually, these cases get to us when something is stuck, and our job is to unstick it,” she said. “Sometimes, all it takes is a letter from our office.”

Predictably, Hill’s Republican opponents are not impressed with her first six months. Three criticized her allegiance to Speaker Nancy Pelosi, and most found her too liberal for their tastes.

“Katie Hill’s lack of performance, her self-professed adulation of Nancy Pelosi as her hero, and her focus on following Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez’s socialist agenda more than our district the past six months affirms my decision to run against her,” Mike Garcia said in a statement. “She has proven herself unwilling to do this job and would rather spend her time on cable news shows defending the positions of the extreme wing of her party. We need a representative that is more focused on the needs of our district’s constituents than the shameless desire to be a member of the liberal elite.”

Angela Underwood Jacobs last week described Hill’s first six months as “lackluster.” On Tuesday, she explained.

“She’s gone back on her word. I believe she’s been in lockstep with Nancy Pelosi and her agenda,” Underwood Jacobs said. “Originally, she said she would be independent and stand her own ground. I don’t see that, personally. She’s a Socialist Democrat who’s done everything she could to undermine the core principles our country was founded upon.”

Underwood Jacobs criticized Hill for favoring Medicare For All and voting for the Equality Act, which prohibits discrimination and segregation based on sex, sexual orientation and gender identity in a wide variety of areas including public education. Underwood Jacobs said this bill, currently in the Senate, would allow boys and girls to compete on the same teams, although the bill says nothing of the sort.

Underwood Jacobs also said Hill favors letting 16-year-olds vote. In fact, Hill voted for HR 1, which allows 16-year-olds to register to vote.

Hill also voted for a bill that prohibits removal proceedings against certain illegal immigrants and provides them paths toward permanent-resident status. Underwood Jacobs said this allows illegal immigrants to engage in gang activity and let people with multiple convictions to apply for permanent residency. In fact, immigrants with one felony or three misdemeanor convictions (not counting some cannabis and domestic-violence misdemeanors) are ineligible.

“She is out of touch with the people in the 25th congressional district,” Underwood Jacobs concluded.

Mark Cripe took a different tact, first saying, “I will always give people in office the respect they deserve, so you are not going to hear me bag on Katie Hill, plain and simple. I may feel that I would have done things differently; but first of all, she’s a freshman, she’s just figuring her position out, and that can’t be easy to do given all the turmoil going on between everybody.”

But then Cripe expressed dissatisfaction with Hill’s connection to Pelosi.

“Nancy Pelosi has taken Katie Hill under the arm, and Nancy’s pretty much gone in directions that are different than I would go,” Cripe said. “She’s grooming Congresswoman Hill. Where’s that gonna go, and how far left are we gonna go with all that?”

Cripe also said he didn’t like that she voted against a law that provides $4.5 billion for humanitarian assistance and security to respond to migrants attempting to enter the country through Mexico. Trump signed the bill July 1.
“If we’re going to help these people, if we’re going to address significant problems within our own infrastructure so these people do get due process, then we need to get the funds to do so,” he said. “I would have definitely voted for that bill to get those people the help they need.”

Actually, Hill voted for the original bill but voted against the final bill. In a statement, she explained that she found the Senate’s version “a rush job” that didn’t include enough accountability to ensure the funds actually kept the children safe and the border secure.

Finally, Suzette Valladares said, “I would characterize (Hill’s first six months) as lockstep, progressive, liberal, not reflecting the values of the 25th congressional district.”

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About Lee Barnathan

Lee Barnathan has been a writer and editor since 1990. His articles have been published in newspapers, magazines and online. His new book "If You Experience Death, Please Call and Other Fatal Mistakes We Make With Language," a humorous look at the ways people misuse English, is available on Amazon or at his website, www.leebarnathan.com. He is hired by people all over the country to help them refine the message or story they wish to share with their target audience or demographic.

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