Rusty Hicks was elected to serve as Chair of the California Democratic Party on June 1st, 2019. Rusty believes the party’s top priority should be grassroots organizing to create people-powered election victories.
As a labor union activist, Rusty has a proven record of organizing grassroots power in order to win tough races. As a DSCC delegate for over 12 years, Rusty has seen the powerful impact of party voter registration, persuasion and turnout efforts. As President of the LA County Federation of Labor, Rusty Hicks stood up to powerful corporations to make progress for working families and organized to create real change. Rusty’s initiatives at the LA Fed include:
- Diverse leadership: As a result of Rusty’s leadership, there are twice as many women, five times more young leaders, and 60% of all leaders are people of color.
- Opportunity for the formerly incarcerated: Rusty built a jobs program to help formerly incarcerated women and men rejoin the workforce and secure good union jobs.
- Fight for 15: Rusty helped lead the successful campaign for the $15 minimum wage, first in LA, then statewide, which helps lift people out of poverty, helps pay the rent and supports working families.
- Health care for all: Rusty fought to guarantee healthcare coverage for every immigrant child. He supports Medicare for All.
- Sexual harassment and assault: Rusty fought for and built a coalition to win greater worker protections against sexual harassment and assault for vulnerable workers in the hospitality industry.
- Safe and healthy environment: Rusty fought for environmental justice and helped lead the campaign for safe and clean water in Los Angeles. He supports a Green New Deal to prevent climate disaster and create jobs.
- Policy at the ballot box: Rusty was a driving force in ballot measures to build affordable housing, provide homeless housing and services, and expand the LA transit system.
The Los Angeles County Federation of Labor is comprised of more than 300 local unions that represents 800,000 workers. For ten years, Rusty served as Political Director where he led the LA Fed’s day-to-day political operations in campaigns across Southern California.
Rusty took a leave from the LA Fed to join the Obama 2008 campaign, where he served as the California Political Director. Early in his career, Rusty learned the power of local action while working for the late Assemblymember Mike Gordon and then-Assemblymember Ted Lieu.
Raised by a single mother, Rusty understands the challenges of working families firsthand. His mother was a bookkeeper, his grandfather worked as a grocery clerk and his grandmother was a teacher’s aide. Their hard work inspired Rusty to a life of service. Rusty is a Lieutenant in the US Navy Reserve and a graduate of Austin College and Loyola Law School. Rusty lives in Pasadena with his wife, Sandra Sanchez, and their dog Charlie.