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Katie Hill encourages women to run for office, warns ‘you’re going to get trolled’

Melody Hahm
Senior Writer

Delegates across 14 states and one territory will vote for a Democratic candidate for president on Super Tuesday, the biggest primary day of 2020. There are also several local races taking place, including a special election to fill the vacant seat left by former congresswoman Katie Hill of California’s 25th congressional district. 

In 2018, Hill flipped a reliably red seat blue. She became one of only two LGBTQ+ women in the House of Representatives, and then resigned in November 2019 after allegations of inappropriate sexual relations with a staffer, which she initially denied, but has since admitted to. Amid the sexual misconduct allegations, Hill’s now estranged husband leaked nude photos of the former congresswoman, leading to what she calls “cyber exploitation.”

While Hill says she wouldn’t change anything about her political journey — from running for office to resigning — she said her story is far more relatable than others may initially believe. 

“I certainly don’t think that running for office is the only one [way to wield power]. I do tell people to do it all the time. I tell them to do it with open eyes though and know that what happened to me can happen,” Hill told Yahoo Finance in an interview last month.

WASHINGTON, DC, UNITED STATES - 2019/07/25: U.S Representative Katie Hill (D-CA) speaking at a press event with House Democrats on the first 200 days of the 116th Congress, on the steps of the Capitol in Washington, DC. (Photo by Michael Brochstein/SOPA Images/LightRocket via Getty Images)

“I think people, women especially, need to know it’s not personal. What happens to you is about misogyny in general… and that’s the fight that we’re here for. It’s not something like cyber exploitation — that’s the extreme — but you’re going to get trolled, you’re going to get attacked on everything from your appearance to whether you’re nice enough to whether you’re smiling enough... It’s a neverending kind of flow, but it’s also something that I think has to happen. And if you have the courage and the willingness to take that on, we need you,” she added.

Before she quit Congress, Hill called Christy Smith, a current assemblywoman representing the northwestern suburbs of Los Angeles, asking if she would consider running for her seat. Smith is seen as the Democratic front-runner in Tuesday’s crowded race. Hill “threw [her] support behind [Smith] from the get go,” and House Speaker Nancy Pelosi, Senators Kamala Harris, Dianne Feinstein, and California’s Democratic Party have all endorsed her. 

Since leaving Congress, Hill has formed a political action committee, Her Time, which endorses female candidates. She also has a memoir coming out this summer.

As for running for future office, Hill said she’s “certainly not scouting anything out right now,” but she also hasn’t “written it off entirely.”

“And the one positive, I guess, is that I ever do run for something again,” she said, “there’s nothing that’s a secret.”

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Melody Hahm is Yahoo Finance’s west coast correspondent, covering entrepreneurship, technology and culture. Follow her on Twitter @melodyhahm. Read more:

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