Under the big skies of Missoula, Mont., a few locals complain about "Ellie's army of bums," but Hill, 35, can't help laughing. Her ability to remain upbeat while shepherding Montana's largest homeless shelter through the bad economy has earned her the title of Missoula's best activist from the Missoula Independent three years in a row and now a seat in the state legislature. A former college athlete, Democrat Hill thinks of her activism as an extension of her work as a lawyer. "I consider myself an advocate for the poor," she says.
Who is your political hero/inspiration?
Eleanor Roosevelt, Paul Wellstone, and Michael Boldman, my dad, a Vietnam veteran and union worker, who graduated from college with me.
If you weren't working in politics, what would you be doing?
Managing the Rolling Stones
What's the most overlooked issue facing America these days?
Mental illness, affordable housing, and the potentially devastating aftermath of the Supreme Court's Citizens United v. Federal Election Commission decision.
Where do you see yourself professionally in five years?
Fighting for the underdog and providing a voice for the voiceless somewhere in politics, law, and social justice. Stay tuned.