Baron Hill (politician)

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Baron Hill
Official portrait, 2007
Member of the U.S. House of Representatives
from Indiana's 9th district
In office
January 3, 2007 – January 3, 2011
Preceded byMike Sodrel
Succeeded byTodd Young
In office
January 3, 1999 – January 3, 2005
Preceded byLee Hamilton
Succeeded byMike Sodrel
Member of the Indiana House of Representatives
from the 66th district
In office
November 3, 1982 – November 7, 1990
Preceded byBobby Gene Pruett[1]
Succeeded byBill Bailey
Personal details
Baron Paul Hill

(1953-06-23) June 23, 1953 (age 70)
Seymour, Indiana, U.S.
Political partyDemocratic
SpouseBetty Schepman
EducationFurman University (BA)
WebsiteCampaign website

Baron Paul Hill (born June 23, 1953) is a retired American politician who served as a U.S. Representative for Indiana's 9th congressional district from 1999 to 2005 and from 2007 to 2011.

A native of Seymour, Indiana, Hill is a Democrat, and as a member of Congress belonged to the conservative-leaning Blue Dog Coalition of that party. Hill's district is in the southeastern part of the state, stretching from Bloomington to the Indiana side of the Louisville metropolitan area.

Early life and education

Hill attended Seymour High School, where he was a first-team all-state player in basketball and an all-American. He set the record for leading scorer in school history, with 1,724 points.[2] He was inducted into the Indiana Basketball Hall of Fame in 2000.[2][3]

Hill graduated from high school in 1971[3] and accepted an athletic scholarship to Furman University in Greenville, South Carolina, where he graduated in 1975.[2][4] After graduating from college, Hill moved back to Seymour, Indiana and joined his family's business.[4]

Indiana House of Representatives and 1990 U.S. Senate race

Hill was a member of the Indiana House of Representatives from 1982 to 1990.[2][5] Hill chaired the state House Democratic Caucus' Campaign Committee from 1985 to 1989,[6] and in that position helped Democrats win House elections and secure a majority.[5]

In 1990, as a state representative, Hill ran for the U.S. Senate in the 1990 special election to fill the last two years of Dan Quayle's term (Quayle had been elected Vice President). Hill attracted much attention (and earned media) during that race for walking the length of the state (from the Ohio River to Lake Michigan) to meet with voters.[5][7] Hill ultimately lost to Senator Dan Coats (who the governor had appointed to fill the vacancy), 54% to 46%—a smaller margin than expected.[7]

U.S. House of Representatives

Votes and positions

During five non-consecutive terms in the United States House of Representatives, Hill was a member of the Blue Dog Coalition of moderate and conservative Democrats.[8][9] Hill served as the Blue Dogs' co-chair for communications[10] and later as co-chair for policy.[11]

In 2001, Hill voted for the No Child Left Behind Act (NCLB).[12] In 2008, Hill said that the law needed to be revamped, saying that he did not object to accountability for schools, but that the act infringed too much on local control and unrealistically required special needs children to meet standardized testing requirements.[13] Hill also said that the federal government had failed to provide an increase in federal school funding, as had been promised when NCLB was passed.[13]

Hill voted in 2002 to authorize the use of the military force against Iraq in 2002,[14] but criticized the George W. Bush administration's conduct of the reconstruction of Iraq.[15][16] In October 2003, Hill said that the 2003 invasion had been well-planned but the subsequent reconstruction had not: "The president did not plan well for winning the peace and for rebuilding the nation."[15][16] Hill blasted Bush's "go-it-alone" strategy and said that Bush had failed to obtain support from the international community, leading to huge U.S. expenditures that sapped away funding that could otherwise go to domestic priorities such as "homeland security, health care, education and debt reduction."[15][16]

In 2007, Hill—along with Representative Lee Terry of Nebraska, a Republican—introduced a measure seeking to increase Corporate Average Fuel Economy (CAFE) standards to between 32 mpg (7.4 L/100 km) and 35 mpg (6.7 L/100 km) by 2022.[17] The Hill-Terry proposal was more limited than a competing proposal introduced by Representative Edward J. Markey, Democrat of Massachusetts, and Representative Todd Russell Platts, Republican of Pennsylvania, which sought to raise CAFE standards for combined car-truck fleets to 35 mpg by 2018.[17] The Hill-Terry proposal was supported by the United Auto Workers.[17] and by industry groups such as the Alliance of Automobile Manufacturers and National Association of Manufacturers,[18] while the Markey-Platts proposal was backed by the Sierra Club and other environmentalist groups.[17] The final energy bill was a compromise that mandated a 35 mpg CAFE standard by 2020.[19]

In 2008, ahead of the Indiana presidential primary, Hill endorsed Barack Obama over Hillary Clinton.[7]

Hill voted against the Emergency Economic Stabilization Act of 2008, which created the Troubled Asset Relief Program ("Wall Street bailout").[7] Hill supported the American Clean Energy and Security Act of 2009 (Waxman-Markey), a cap-and-trade bill which ultimately did not pass.[7] Hill also voted for the 2009 American Recovery and Reinvestment Act (an economic stimulus package championed by President Obama)[7] and the 2010 Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act, landmark health care reform legislation.[7][20]

During his last years in the House, Hill earned a 70 percent rating from the Human Rights Campaign, an LGBT rights advocacy group. Hill supported the repeal of don't ask, don't tell, voted for the Employment Non-Discrimination Act in 2010, and opposed a proposed amendment to the U.S. Constitution to ban same-sex marriage.[21] Hill did not campaign for same-sex marriage, however, and did not cosponsor legislation brought by 121 Democrats to repeal the Defense of Marriage Act, which barred federal recognition of same-sex marriage.[21] As public attitudes changed, Hill's position shifted, and in 2015, while running for Senate, Hill said: "Marriage equality is especially close to my own heart. I’m proud of Hoosiers who are fighting to make sure our friends and neighbors are guaranteed equal rights."[21]

Committee assignments



Hill was elected to the House in November 1998. He defeated Republican Jean Leising, 51% to 48% and Libertarian Diane Merriam, 1%, winning the seat vacated by retiring 34-year incumbent Lee H. Hamilton.


Hill was reelected in 2000, with 54 percent of the vote.


Mike Sodrel, Hill‘s four-time Republican opponent

In 2002, Hill defeated Republican Mike Sodrel with 51 percent of the vote. Sodrel, a New Albany trucking company owner, had 46 percent.


In November 2004, in a rematch, Hill lost to Sodrel by a razor-thin margin of about 1,500 votes (about a half of a percentage point). There was a recount following reports of voting irregularities, namely malfunctioning voting machines in at least three counties.[27][28] Hill gained only about two dozen votes in the recount, however, and conceded the election in early December 2004.[29]


Hill won the Democratic nomination in the 9th district in 2006. He was included in the "First Wave" of the Democratic Congressional Campaign Committee's "Red-to-Blue" program.[30]

Texas millionaire Bob J. Perry gave more than $5 million to the Economic Freedom Fund, a 527 group, which included Hill as one of its targets for removal. The group paid for automated "push poll" calls attacking Hill. Such calls were stopped after action by the Indiana Attorney General.[31] Cook Political Report rated the race as a toss-up.[32]

Hill won the 2006 election with 50% of the vote; Sodrel received 46% and Libertarian Eric Schansberg 4 percent.[33]

As is the custom for returning members of Congress, the Democrats gave Hill back his seniority.[34] He was named to the Energy and Commerce and Science and Technology committees.


In 2008 Hill and Sodrel again fought for the 9th district. The race moved between Likely D to Lean D on the Cook Political Report.[35] Fund raising in 2008 had become more one-sided than in 2006, with Hill far ahead in the numbers game, according to reported income.[36]

Hill defeated Sodrel in the election, 58% to 39%.[37]


Hill ran unsuccessfully for reelection, losing to Republican nominee Todd Young on November 2, 2010.

Electoral results

Indiana's 9th congressional district: Results 1998–2010
Year Democrat Votes % Republican Votes % 3rd Party Party Votes % 3rd Party Party Votes %
1998[38] Baron P. Hill 92,973 51% Jean Leising 87,797 48% Diane L. Feeney Libertarian 2,406 1%
2000[39] Baron P. Hill 126,420 54% Michael Bailey 102,219 44% Sara Chambers Libertarian 4,644 2%
2002[40] Baron P. Hill 96,654 51% Mike Sodrel 87,169 46% Jeff Melton Green 2,745 2% Al Cox Libertarian 2,389 1%
2004[41] Baron P. Hill 140,772 49% Mike Sodrel 142,197 49% Al Cox Libertarian 4,541 2%
2006[33] Baron P. Hill 110,454 50% Mike Sodrel 100,469 46% D. Eric Schansberg Libertarian 9,893 4% Donald W. Mantooth Write-in/independent 33
2008[42] Baron P. Hill 181,281 Mike Sodrel 120,529 D. Eric Schansberg Libertarian 11,994 4%
2010[43] Baron P. Hill 95,353 Todd Young 118,040 Gregg "No Bull" Knott Libertarian 12,070 Jerry R. Lucas Write-in/independent 69

Post-congressional career

In 2011, after leaving Congress, Hill was hired by APCO Worldwide, "as a senior vice president in the company's government relations practice and a member of the firm's international advisory council."[44]

APCO represents a number of clients listed in Lobbying Disclosure Act filings.[45] In 2014, Hill left APCO to start his own solo lobbying firm, representing Cook Industries, a company located in his former district.[45]

2016 election for U.S. Senate

In 2014, Hill announced he was considering running for Governor in 2016.[46]

Following an announcement by Senator Dan Coats that he would not seek reelection, however, Hill announced on May 15, 2015, that he would seek the open Senate seat as the Democratic nominee.[47] Democratic state Representative Christina Hale considered running for the seat as well,[47] but ultimately decided against it.[48]

Former Governor Evan Bayh, who from 1999 to 2011 served in the Senate in the same seat held by Coats, initially opted against joining the race.[49] Hill therefore ran unopposed for the Democratic nomination, setting up a rematch with Todd Young.[50] However, Hill withdrew from the general election on July 11, 2016, in favor of Bayh, who announced he was entering the race.[51] Young won the general election on November 8, 2016.

Personal life

Hill is married to Betty Hill (née Schepman), a public-school math teacher. They have three adult daughters.[5][52]

Hill is a Methodist[52] and a member of the First United Methodist Church in Seymour.[53]


  1. ^ "Offices". 3 March 2015.
  2. ^ a b c d "Baron Hill". Indiana Basketball Hall of Fame.
  3. ^ a b Madeline Buckley, Democrat Baron Hill joins U.S. Senate race, Indianapolis Star (June 3, 2015).
  4. ^ a b Indiana Election 2016 Archived 2016-06-09 at the Wayback Machine, Indiana Public Media.
  5. ^ a b c d Maureen Hayden, Former Congressman Hill mulls run for governor, News and Tribune (December 3, 2014).
  6. ^ Congressional Staff Directory, Fall 2004: 108th Congress, Second Session (CQ Press, 2004), p. 423.
  7. ^ a b c d e f g Brian Howey, Hill walks to save his career, News and Tribune (August 28, 2010).
  8. ^ Blue Dog and cap-and-trade backer Baron Hill loses, The Hill (November 3, 2010).
  9. ^ Simone Pathé, Democrats Hope Baron Hill Can Follow Donnelly's Path to the Senate, Roll Call (July 31, 2015).
  10. ^ House Democratic Whip Hoyer and Blue Dogs Denounce Rising Bush Debt, Office of the Democratic Whip (press release) (March 4, 2004).
  11. ^ Ryan Grim, Blue Dog Membership List Released, Huffington Post (April 30, 2009).
  12. ^ David Mann, On the Record: Voting records for Baron Hill and Mike Sodrel, News and Tribune (November 6, 2006).
  13. ^ a b Mike Westervelt, No Child Left Behind may need revamping, Purdue Exponent (February 15, 2008).
  14. ^ Alison Mitchell & Carl Hilse, Threats and Responses: Congress authorizes Bush to Use Force Against Iraq, Creating a Broad Mandate, New York Times (October 11, 2002).
  15. ^ a b c Iraq Occupation 'Going Better than Many Americans Think,' claims Bush, Voice of America (October 11, 2003).
  16. ^ a b c Baron Hill, Democrats Blast Bush Administration's Policy in Iraq (October 11, 2003).
  17. ^ a b c d James M. Amend, UAW Makes Pitch for Hill-Terry CAFE Proposal, Ward's Auto (July 31, 2007).
  18. ^ Manufacturers and dealers unite behind Hill-Terry bill Archived 2016-05-09 at the Wayback Machine (press release).
  19. ^ Lowell Ungar, How a bill signed by Bush and implemented by Obama is saving consumers billions, ACEEE (October 29, 2015).
  20. ^ Rep. Baron Hill voices support for health care reform bill, Evansville Courier & Press (March 20, 2010).
  21. ^ a b c Amanda Terkel, Conservative Democrat Baron Hill Rebrands Himself As Pro-Marriage Equality In Indiana Senate Race, Huffington Post (June 19, 2015).
  22. ^ Official Alphabetical List of the House of Representatives of the United States: One Hundred Sixth Congress (1999–2001) Archived 2018-09-22 at the Wayback Machine (final ed.), Clerk of the United States House of Representatives.
  23. ^ Official Alphabetical List of the House of Representatives of the United States: One Hundred Seventh Congress (2001–2003) Archived 2018-09-22 at the Wayback Machine (final ed.), Clerk of the United States House of Representatives.
  24. ^ Official Alphabetical List of the House of Representatives of the United States: One Hundred Eighth Congress (2003–2005) Archived 2018-09-22 at the Wayback Machine (final ed.), Clerk of the United States House of Representatives.
  25. ^ Official Alphabetical List of the House of Representatives of the United States: One Hundred Tenth Congress (2007–2009) Archived 2018-09-22 at the Wayback Machine (final ed.), Clerk of the United States House of Representatives.
  26. ^ Official Alphabetical List of the House of Representatives of the United States: One Hundred Eleventh Congress (2009–2011) Archived 2016-12-29 at the Wayback Machine (final ed.), Clerk of the United States House of Representatives.
  27. ^ Chip Reid, "Decision 2004 Not Yet Over in Some States",, November 24, 2004.
  28. ^ Roger Harvey. 9th District recount to begin at end of month, WTHR, November 17, 2004.
  29. ^ T.W. Farnam, "Round Four in Indiana's Ninth: Long-Running Rivalry Dramatizes Bitter Fight Over Seats in Congress", Wall Street Journal, January 9, 2008.
  30. ^ "Red to Blue 2008". 2008-07-31. Archived from the original on 2008-07-31. Retrieved 2010-10-05.
  31. ^ "Attorney General Steve Carter Seeks Court Order against the Economic Freedom Fund for Automated Calls". Archived from the original on July 13, 2009. Retrieved 2013-11-19.
  32. ^ "House | The Cook Political Report". Archived from the original on 2010-10-05. Retrieved 2010-10-05.
  33. ^ a b Statistics of the Congressional Elections of November 7, 2006, p. 15.
  34. ^ Ex-Reps. Looking to Regain Seniority, Roll Call (September 26, 2006).
  35. ^ "Rep. Baron Hill | The Cook Political Report". Archived from the original on 2008-11-27. Retrieved 2010-10-05.
  36. ^ Wagner, Jennifer (2008-07-16). "RELEASE: Congressman Baron Hill posts strong fundraising numbers (CD09)". Hoosier Political Report. Archived from the original on 2011-07-12. Retrieved 2010-10-05.
  37. ^ "Hill Defeats Sodrel". WLKY. 2008-11-04. Archived from the original on 2012-02-13. Retrieved 2008-11-05.
  38. ^ Statistics of the Congressional Elections of November 3, 1998
  39. ^ Statistics of the Congressional Elections of November 7, 2000, p. 20.
  40. ^ Statistics of the Congressional Elections of November 5, 2002, p. 15.
  41. ^ Statistics of the Congressional Elections of November 2, 2004.
  42. ^ Statistics of the Congressional Elections of November 4, 2008, p. 21.
  43. ^ Statistics of the Congressional Elections of November 2, 2008, p. 18.
  44. ^ Baron Hill Joins APCO's Government Relations Practice, Holmes Report (June 19, 2011).
  45. ^ a b Byron Tau, Baron Hill strikes out on his own — JGE Consulting inks BMW,, October 16, 2014.
  46. ^ Hayden, Maureen (December 3, 2014). "Former Congressman Hill mulls run for governor". News and Tribune.
  47. ^ a b Emily Cahn, Ousted Democrat Announces Indiana Senate Bid (Updated), Roll Call (May 15, 2015).
  48. ^ Lesley Weidenbener, Democrat Christina Hale Decides Against Bid For U.S. Senate, (June 30, 2015).
  49. ^ Kyle Cheney, Dems see glimmer of hope in Coats' retirement, Politico (March 25, 2015).
  50. ^ Maureen Groppe, Young wins GOP Senate primary over Stutzman, Indianapolis Star (May 3, 2016).
  51. ^ Siobhan Hughes, Former Indiana Democratic Sen. Evan Bayh to Run for Open Senate Seat, Wall Street Journal, July 11, 2016.
  52. ^ a b Eric Bradner, Pair divided on deficit: Barin Hill, Evansville Courier & Press (October 17, 2010).
  53. ^ "Three challenging Hill in 9th District", Madison Courier, October 25, 2010.

External links

Party political offices
Preceded by Democratic nominee for U.S. Senator from Indiana
(Class 3)

Succeeded by
Preceded by Chair of the Blue Dog Coalition for Communications
Served alongside: Jim Turner (Administration), Charles Stenholm (Policy)
Succeeded by
Preceded by Chair of the Blue Dog Coalition for Policy
Served alongside: Stephanie Herseth Sandlin (Administration), Charlie Melancon, Jim Matheson (Communications)
Succeeded by
Preceded by Democratic nominee for U.S. Senator from Indiana
(Class 3)

Succeeded by
U.S. House of Representatives
Preceded by Member of the U.S. House of Representatives
from Indiana's 9th congressional district

Succeeded by
Preceded by Member of the U.S. House of Representatives
from Indiana's 9th congressional district

Succeeded by
U.S. order of precedence (ceremonial)
Preceded byas Former US Representative Order of precedence of the United States
as Former US Representative
Succeeded byas Former US Representative