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LWV League of Women Voters of California
Los Angeles County, CA November 5, 2002 Election
Smart Voter Full Biography for Jo Ann Hill

Candidate for
State Senator; District 28

This information is provided by the candidate


I am the 2nd of 10 children, born in 1953 and raised in Seattle, Washington. In my teens when my father left us, my older sister and I took on the responsibility of assisting our mother in raising our siblings. My mother refused government assistance as my grandfather said it was the beginning of a socialist state. Although we were poor and quite often hungry, I learned invaluable lessons and to appreciate both the good and bad of what life offers.

My mother constantly stressed the evils of prejudice and that all men were created equal. I learned these lessons firsthand as our family was one of the first non-Italians to attend an all-Italian Catholic Parish school. They didn't want 'outsiders' and we were the 'charity' family. On attempting to enter the grounds on my first day, I was punched so hard in the stomach by an older boy that the wind was knocked out of me and I fell to the ground gasping for air. I thought I was going to die there alone as he walked away yelling expletives at me and I lay there wondering what it was I had done to make him hate me. Walking to and from school was an additional challenge as we all wore a uniform and in passing the public school kids, they would chase us, throw rocks, and call us names. Sometimes they would catch me - I learned to fight. When I went to summer High School two blocks from my home, I was constantly threatened and my hair pulled simply because I was one of the few whites there. Yet in my neighborhood, which was multi-ethnic, we all danced and played together. I learned that individuals hate for any excuse they can find. My mother always said that God resides in all of us and never to judge another by what he has or does not have. She would take in a homeless person, feed them and send them off with food as she had no money to give. Without question, she would take in a neighbor's child and feed them if the parent hadn't come home. We didn't have much food either, but she always said that Jesus would feed the poor and we must always be Christlike.

My mother wanted me to have a good education and I honored her wishes. I learned the value of a dollar as I paid for my high school education at an all-girl Catholic Academy. I cleaned classrooms after school and from there I went downtown by bus to cashier at a theater for $1.65 per hour; During Christmas break, I took on an extra job at a restaurant as a waitress; During the summer, I worked as a maid at a downtown hotel before going to the theater. At 19, I married and was employed at a bank - starting pay at just under $300.00 a month. My job diversity continued as we moved to Dutch Harbor, Alaska. There I first worked as a chef's assistant on a crab processor and quickly graduated to office management. After leaving Alaska, I lived on an Indian reservation in Washington State while managing a seafood industry office there. I've held management, modeling and sales positions in the apparel industry and was a regional sales representative for a beverage distributor. I've sold oil paintings and photographs of my own as well. I've had several years of computer education and after returning to college as an adult, received a BFA degree from Otis Parson college in LA.

I met my second husband and moved to California 20 years ago and have resided in this district ever since. Twice during those years we were in the position of losing our home due to loss of income. Just recently, my husband started a new job after being unemployed for 6 months. Each time we struggled and through our own efforts we prevailed. I know how to prepare for and recognize the possibilities of financial instability. I know how to streamline and prioritize the needs of my family. I choose not to be a victim and I take responsibility for my life. We have a 26 year old daughter (who is married with 2 children) and have a 10 year old son whom I currently home school. I am employed part time for a business consultant and have a small graphic design business. As is obvious, my mother left me a legacy of morals and values that I remember to instill in my own children through example. She died over a year ago and my father followed 6 months later. Her legacy of values lives on and so do the character building challenges I experienced when my father left. My diverse life and work experiences have given me a unique perspective and have contributed to the development of skills which allow a fair, objective and common sense approach to issues.

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Created from information supplied by the candidate: July 25, 2002 17:39
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