Katie Porter or Katie Hill? Why Two New Congresswomen Keep Getting Mixed Up Even Though They Look Nothing Alike

Katie Hill, Katie Porter
Katie Hill, left, peaks at the 2019 Women's March Los Angeles on January 19 in Los Angeles. Katie Porter, right, greets supporters at an event in Irvine, California, on Election Day, November 6, 2018. Araya Diaz/Getty Images for Women's March Los Angeles/ROBYN BECK/AFP/Getty Images

Two freshman Southern California representatives say people keep getting them mixed up—even though they look nothing alike.

Katie Porter and Katie Hill, told the Los Angeles Times they were tired of people confusing one for the other. "It's constant," said Porter, 45, who described herself as a "middle-age, middle-class, minivan-driving mom."

Hill, 31, who doesn't have children, has been described by the Times and others as a "millennial."

Campaign donations have been sent to the wrong offices and social media activists have endorsed the wrong politicians, the Times reported. Even House Speaker Nancy Pelosi mixed up their names once in January, the day the two were sworn in.

Porter believes the issue could be rooted in gender: the fact that women politicians, like Hillary Clinton and Kamala Harris, are often known by their first names, rather than their last. "These people have last names. Katie Hill and I each have last names," Porter said. "This confusion around first names strikes me as a uniquely feminine problem."

Although Hill admitted she struggled to keep track of the many "older white men" she sees in Congress, she expressed frustration over what seems to be a common occurrence.

"Why is this so hard?'' Hill told the publication. "We don't look anything alike. She's a mom. I feel like we're running on pretty different messages and in totally different places."

Porter said she felt undermined by the frequent mix-ups. "Being constantly confused with another member, it deepens the sense of dislocation and 'Do I belong here?'" she told the Times. "When you walk into a room and someone says, 'Katie Hill's arrived!' it sort of makes you feel like: Do I not count? But I know it happens to her on the other side, too."

This isn't the first time Hill has called out the atmosphere in Congress. In March, she told The Lily she had already encountered "archaic" sexism in the House, including inappropriate sexual comments from male colleagues.

Although she said Congress was still a "man's world," and that women were "vastly outnumbered, she added that women worked to bolster each other. "You can tell female members have been supporting each other in a huge way for a long time," she said.

Porter recently wrote a scathing response to White House press secretary Sarah Huckabee Sanders's suggestion that Congress members weren't "smart enough" to understand the president's tax returns.

"Our freshman class includes intelligence analysts, nurses, veterans, and—ahem—law professors. I think we can handle it," she tweeted Sunday.