By Sheri Williams
Longtime California Labor leader Rusty Hicks was elected to lead the state Democratic Party at the recent convention in San Francisco.
Hicks is head of the Los Angeles County Federation of Labor, where he succeeded Maria Elena Durazo last year after she was elected to the state Senate. Hicks won 57 percent of the vote to be named chairman of the party in a closely watched election.
Hicks said during his campaign and after his win that his goal was to unite the state party and focus it on issues that affect all working families, including the upcoming 2020 elections.
“Coming out of the labor movement, I believe in the collective. I don’t believe in the individual,” Hicks told media and supporters. “In order to see a change in the White House, we’re going to have to have a real change in the California Democratic Party, and that starts with us standing together tonight.”
Hicks was supported by Labor across the state.
Hicks “believes the only way we can give working people a fair shot is by old-fashioned organizing,” California Labor Federation Communications Director Steve Smith told media.
He is one of the youngest—and the first post-9/11 war veteran—to lead one of the nation’s largest labor federations, according to the LA County Federation of Labor.
“Raised by a single mother in Fort Worth, Texas, Rusty saw first-hand the challenges of attaining the American Dream. Her hard work inspired him to a life of service,” his bio said. “He is a Lieutenant in the United States Navy Reserve and a veteran of the War in Afghanistan. Rusty is a member of the Los Angeles College Faculty Guild – America Federation of Teachers Local 1521.”