Ellie Boldman Hill is proud to be a lifelong Rocky Mountain Westerner and Idaho native. A graduate of Bishop Kelly High School in Boise and proud alum of Idaho Girls State, Ellie played soccer at the College of Idaho, where she began significant involvement in social justice causes and thereafter developed an interest in progressive politics at Boise State University. Ellie graduated from BSU with her father, a union worker and Vietnam veteran, who took one night class a semester for thirty six years.
Ellie continued her educational pursuits at University of Idaho, College of Law, where she was elected the President of the American Bar Association and Idaho Trial Lawyers, law student divisions. Ellie interned for the Nez Perce Tribe in Lapwai, Idaho, and worked as an attorney in both the private and public sector, including as a Deputy Prosecutor in Boise, Idaho. She worked on political campaigns for both the current mayor of Boise, Dave Bieter, and the former Director of the Idaho State Democratic Party, Keith Roark, in his bid for Attorney General.
In 2007, Ellie was hired to serve as the Executive Director of one of Western Montana’s best known and beloved nonprofit organizations.
The Poverello Center, Inc., founded in 1974, is the State of Montana’s largest emergency homeless shelter and soup kitchen located in the heart of downtown Missoula. Since Ellie took the helm, the organization has been voted by readers of the Missoula Independent, “Missoula’s Best Non Profit Organization” (2007-2010), and Ellie has been personally voted “Missoula’s Best Activist” (2007-2011) for her advocacy for the impoverished and her political engagement on progressive causes.
The success of the state’s largest homeless center, the Poverello Center, rests largely on the shoulders of Executive Director Ellie Hill. The former district attorney never expected to be in her current position, but she points out that the word “lawyer” translates to “advocate” in most other languages. Although she’s kicked around the idea of leaving her current position for a more traditional legal career, it’ll never happen. “I’m still a lawyer in a lot of ways,” she says. “I consider myself an advocate for the poor.” –Editors, Missoula Independent
Interviewed frequently in print, television, and radio, she has been a speaker for the Aspen Institute on “Information Needs for the Poor”. Ellie is one Montana’s leading scholars on homelessness, poverty, and food insecurity issues.
Ellie was selected as a fellow in the prestigious “Montana Policy Institute” and Democracy for America chose her as a Netroots Nation scholar, where she has since been a panelist.
In November 2010, after knocking thousands of doors, Ellie won a hotly contested race and was elected to the Montana House of Representatives. Ellie serves on the infamous House Judiciary Committee, as well as House Health and Human Services Committee, where she debated bills involving the repeal of medical marijuana, abolition of the death penalty, chipping away of reproductive freedom, and seceding from the Union. After the session ended, she was chosen by House and Senate leadership to co-chair the Montana Democratic Legislative Campaign Committee, where she now travels the State in an effort to turn the Montana legislature back to blue, while retaining a Democrat in the Governor’s Office and in the United States Senate.
Ellie was recently chosen by Time Magazine as one of the “40 Under 40 Political Rising Stars” in the country and has since visited the White House with Young Elected Officials from around the U.S.
Ellie is the National Vice President for the Young Democrats of America and was named by the Washington Post as one of the best “State-based Political Tweeters.” Ellie also co-founded the Montana Chapter of the New Leaders Council, appointed to the City of Missoula’s Historic Preservation Commission, and is a proud Rotarian. She serves on the board of directors of the National Museum of Forest Service History.
Ellie skis the bumps in the winter, searches for white water in the summer, and she always finds a Montana made beer after both. She lives on the banks of the Clark Fork River in the historic Wilma Theater in downtown Missoula. Ellie’s parents still share time between Boise and Riggins, her brother is a smokejumper based out of Idaho, and regardless of geography, none of them ever miss a Bronco game.