Nov. 1 (UPI) — Rep. Katie Hill, D-Calif., delivered her final speech on the House floor on Thursday condemning the “double standard” that she said led to her resignation.
Hill announced her resignation this week after the House Committee on Ethics opened an investigation into allegations that she and her husband had a relationship with a woman who worked on her election campaign and that she had a more recent relationship with a male staffer in violation of House rules.
“I wasn’t ready for my time here to come to an end so soon,” she said.
Hill added she would not ever “shirk” responsibility for the ending of her time in Congress, but said the issue is “bigger than me.”
“I’m leaving now because of a double standard. I am leaving because I no longer want to be used as a bargaining chip. I’m leaving because I didn’t want to be peddled by papers and blogs and websites used by shameless operatives for the dirtiest gutter politics I’ve ever seen and the right-wing media to drive clicks and expand their audience by distributing intimate photographs of me taken without my knowledge — let alone my consent — for the sexual entertainment of millions,” she said.
Hill denied having a relationship with a congressional staffer but did acknowledge a consensual relationship with a former campaign staffer and said her husband of nine years, Kenny Heslep, distributed nude photos of her. The two are in the process of divorcing.
“I’m leaving because of a misogynistic culture that gleefully consumed my naked pictures, capitalized on my sexuality and enabled my abusive ex to continue that abuse, this time with the entire country watching,” she said. “I am leaving because of the thousands of vile, threatening emails, calls and texts that made me fear for my life and the lives of the people that I care about. Today is the first time I have left my apartment since the photos taken without my consent were released and I’m scared.”
Hill’s speech came as she voted in favor of impeachment proceedings into President Donald Trump, whom she alluded to as “a man who brags about his sexual predation, who’s had dozens of women come forward to accuse him of sexual assault, who pushes policies that are uniquely harmful to women and who has filled the court with judges who proudly rule to deprive women of the most fundamental rights to control their own bodies.”
She also vowed to work toward a future where women and girls do not face similar circumstances.
“Yes, I’m stepping down, but I refuse to let this experience scare off other women who dare to take risks, who dare to step into this light, who dare to be powerful … The way to overcome this setback is for women to keep showing up, to keep running for office to keep stepping up as leaders, because the more we show up, the less power they have,” Hill said.