Amongst the leading challengers to Steve Knight, the current representative in California’s 25th district, which covers a wide swath of the northern reaches of LA County, Katie Hill has the most compelling resumé, the better platform, and the best chance to flip LA County’s lone remaining Republican Congressional seat.
HIll’s background in homeless services, gives her key credibility on one of the most important issues plaguing the Los Angeles region. Her work as executive director of PATH not only strengthened one of the most important homeless services organizations in the region, but also helped guarantee the passage of HHH, which expanded funding for supportive housing and wraparound services by over a billion dollars. This is real experience in policy that will positively effect thousands of the most disadvantaged residents in the region.
Hill is also strong on healthcare, where she supports Medicare For All and is on the right side of the issues when it comes to reproductive rights. She is also putting her campaign’s money where her mouth is on finance reform, as she’s running a campaign that is not taking any corporate money.
Frankly though, while Hill’s experience makes her stand out amongst the Democratic field in the district, in terms of stated platform there is not a lot dividing Hill and her competition on the left side of the primary. This is where (with apologies to my fellow KNOCK editor Terry) electability has to come into play. And Hill is clearly the candidate most likely to oust Steve Knight from office.
Hill’s chief competition on the left comes from Bryan Caforio, who was soundly defeated by Knight in 2016, despite the district going for Clinton over Trump by six points. He lost because Knight was able to portray him as an outsider; Caforio had moved into the district shortly before the last election cycle, and this was used to drive a wedge between Caforio and the independent voters who make up a large share of CA-25. This is not an issue that Hill has. She grew up in the district, went to school in the district, and has credibility speaking to the issues facing the district. The polling currently bears this out, with Hill soundly defeating Knight in a hypothetical head-to-head while Caforio lags slightly behind.
Hill also represents an opportunity to have a millennial woman in Congress. Women currently only make up 20% of Congress, a staggeringly low figure, and young women are even less well represented. Yet these are the most progressive members of our electorate; we need more young women in office and we need the right young women in office. Hill is that woman.
Which is not to say that Knight’s well-funded campaign won’t be able to close the current gap she’s opened up on him. He’s in office for a reason: he’s a savvy politician with deep pocketed outside support. There is just the question of who would you rather have opposing him? A candidate with experience developing policy to help the least-fortunate, who also happens to be refusing corporate donations, while representing two groups underrepresented in Congress (women and millennials), and polling significantly ahead of her opponent in a hypothetical head-to-head? Or would you rather not do that? I think the answer is easy. That’s why I’m supporting Katie Hill.