TIME: 40 Under 40

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.

What’s your go-to political blog?
leftinthewest.com, huffingtonpost.com, and the soon to be established “Tales from the Dome”, my own political blog about life as a freshman legislator.

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