In the four-part Vice documentary, “She’s Running,” which chronicled Rep. Katie Hill’s 2018 campaign, Hill and her staffers are often shown grabbing a drink, and the campaign headquarters featured an impressive “liquor” closet.
When Hill arrived in Washington, D.C., celebratory beverages continued to be a part of her life.
In text messages provided to RedState of conversations between Hill, her estranged husband, and their former throuple partner, by June 2019 all three were expressing concern about Hill’s drinking and its impact on her mental health and work performance.
During the last week of May, Hill was at home in the 25th District for Memorial Day events and visiting constituents before heading up to San Francisco to attend the California Democratic Party convention. Over the course of that week, Hill told Heslep and her female staffer that she wanted to end the throuple relationship to focus on “this important work” of impeaching President Trump.
At the convention, Hill was one of the main speakers and also had a big reason to celebrate – her friend Rusty Hicks was elected as party chair (after Eric Baumann was forced out amid sexual assault charges).
— Rusty Hicks (@rustyhicks) June 2, 2019
Kenny Heslep, Hill’s husband, didn’t accompany her to the convention, but the two were texting throughout the weekend. The following text exchange occurred during the late night/early morning hours of May 31-June 1, 2019.
Yup! Celebrating Rusty winning with some people at a tiki bar.
Great. So getting hammered again? Should I just say goodnight now?
Hammered no, but continuing to drink yea.
The next screenshot reveals that Hill didn’t return to her room until after 3:30 a.m., and she admitted to Heslep that she’s drunk.
I’m sorry babe. I just got back. And yeah, I’m drunk. I’ve been talking to Lydia about that. I love you. You will always be my stinker.
The Lydia to which Hill is referring is her psychiatrist. Heslep asks if Hill was talking to Lydia about the split-up. Hill replies:
And no, about drinking and everything.
Hill tells Heslep that she doesn’t know where she’d been precisely, but in general to bars and a Mexican late night restaurant. She reiterates that she had been talking to Lydia “about drinking a lot.”
On June 3rd, the female staffer confronted Rep. Hill about her drinking and reveals that Hill missed her flight and hid that fact from Kenny.
The first portion of this message was published in an earlier story.
The staffer tells Hill:
I am very worried about your partying this weekend. After Friday night it was a red flag but…then you were out until 3, clearly from the misspelled text [were] very drunk, and it [a]ffected your work by missing your plane (a fact you hid from Kenny just making it even more clear something is going on. I am worried about you babe.”
According to the messages reviewed, Hill didn’t reply to the staffer that day. About a week later, the staffer and Heslep are discussing a dinner attended by Hill, Heslep, the staffer, and members of the staffer’s family, who apparently knew about the polyamorous relationship.
Referencing her family, the staffer says:
She said it’s really hard to be with someone with mental illness. She also said they both felt something was off at the dinner.
Yarp. And what did they say was off?
The staffer says:
They just said it felt off somehow
Maybe like the bottle and a half that she drank? Lol
Just a few days later – the day after her wedding anniversary – Hill missed another flight between Washington, D.C., and California, as a staffer named Cat told Hill’s throuple partner. Heslep asks, “Does anyone find it odd how many she’s been missing lately?”
In addition to the text messages reviewed by RedState about Hill’s alcohol use, an elected official from a jurisdiction in Hill’s district told RedState on condition of anonymity that Hill was observed at a local event in mid-July visibly intoxicated, and that one of Hill’s staffers pulled Hill aside, saying, “We need to leave. You shouldn’t be here right now.” Hill then left the event without incident.
Like millions of Americans, Rep. Hill has been open about the fact that she lives with depression, as she tweeted on October 10th.
I’ve been open about the fact that I live with depression — I believe that to #EndTheStigma we need diverse voices to show that there is light on the other side. On #WorldMentalHealthDay, please know that you are not alone.
— Rep. Katie Hill (@RepKatieHill) October 10, 2019
In addition to regular appointments with her psychologist, Hill sometimes takes the prescription medication trazodone to manage manic episodes, according to the text messages. Mixing trazodone with alcohol is extremely dangerous.
Mixing trazodone with alcohol can increase levels of intoxication—resulting in extreme drowsiness and increasing the risk of overdose and death when either are consumed in excessive amounts. Long-term use of both substances can also lead to physical dependence and withdrawal.
Shortly after Hill arrived in Washington D.C., Heslep was concerned about Hill becoming manic, and Hill admitted that she thought he was right about the mania and that she “should have recognized it sooner.”
Serving as a Member of Congress, especially when one’s district is at least a five-hour flight from Washington, D.C., is grueling even under the best of circumstances. When one is dealing with a troubled marriage and living with depression, the job is even more challenging. Hopefully, Rep. Hill can take the time and space she needs to deal with the serious issues she is facing and emerge stronger and healthier in every way.