Inteview with Rusty Hicks, L.A.'s New Labor Boss


Brand rusty Hicks was elected the new chair of the California Democratic party, the L, A labor leader and navy veteran will succeed, Eric Bouwman Bouwman resigned in November, after he was accused of sexually harassing his staffers Hicks. His election is a big win for the party establishment and they hope he will be able to unite this scandal-plagued party ahead of the twenty twenty elections, and rusty Hicks joins me. Now, welcome. It's good to be here. Thank you for having me. Well, it's great to have you. How divided is your party? There was a fight for the election, and, but you won your main opposition Kimberly, Ellison, she wanted to bring in more diverse younger faces to the party. Is that a serious divide? The campaign is over. We have the opportunity to move forward and unite party. You know, I think that the passion and the energy that was brought to that campaign is important for our party. And now we've got a lot of work to do with the opportunity to death. What is that work? Well, certainly, you know, first and foremost is preparing to remove Donald Trump from the White House. In twenty twenty we certainly have some work to do in twenty nineteen to get our party in a position to put our best foot forward for that campaign. Not the least of which is actually addressing the reason why we had a chairs race to begin with. I think that's the number one issue that we have to face and address and ensure never happens again. You mean the sexual harassment allegations? Yeah. Absolutely. Okay. Absolutely. So there are lawsuits regarding that is that going to take up a fair amount of your time, addressing that well I think I we have to certainly squarely and directly ensure that we address the pain and suffering that victims have experienced but also I think it's important to put in place policies and systems that ensure. That it doesn't happen again that anyone and everyone who engages with the California, Democratic party of feels safe and is safe. And I started some two months ago developing zero tolerance policy for the party in unprepared to implement that new policy within within thirty days, I want to get back to this division during this race for party chair, one of the delegates, who supported Kimberly LS said, if I as a young black woman in this party can't see myself in leadership, and what's the point? And then she pointed out that the Republican party, the California Republican party recently elected, a Latina Toledo. It's party. Do you see that at all as a problem that in this majority minority state white man is leading the Democratic Party will, I talked about actually building a Democratic Party that members of the party help to read my leadership style has never been about one individual at the top and has been about a collective power of all of us in there. Four, I called for democratization of the way in which we select committees, the expansion of the leadership structure at the top statewide levels of our party. And for I think through my work in the labor movement in Los Angeles. And what I hope to do with this party. I hope that every part of our party little see backgrounds and demographics and geographies and ideas that reflect, what is the primary function of the Democratic Party here in California. Is it mainly to raise money for candidates? So I, I believe the role of the party is to engage in our nine billion Democrats to bring the platform of the party to life that actually improves the lives of forty million Californians. The vast majority of Californians are looking for a job that they can rely on. On you want a good education for their kids wanna home if they can actually afford. They wanna healthcare when they're sick. They want clean air clean water, and it's our parties obligation to prioritize and lead on and speak to those important issues to be the core function, the primary role of the party. Well, speaking of one of those issues that you outlined home affordability, there was a, you know, doubt are aware, a major study on homelessness, that came out yesterday that show double digit gains here in Los Angeles. We're in a democratic state you have we have a democratic governor. There's a super majority in the legislature of Democrats, and yet it appears that state government is failing to properly address the housing crisis. There just aren't enough homes at affordable prices for people, which is one of the major reasons for this homelessness epidemic. So why hasn't been able? To really put forth, aggressive measures to solve this problem. Well, I would say it's. Homelessness challenge that our state faces in the housing crisis that we face it are certainly linked. They also think we have a challenge of good quality jobs, and that is linked to really both of those important issues in having been in gauged in both the jobs issues and the housing issues and homelessness issues here in Los Angeles. I can tell you that there is no one-size-fits-all solution. There is no magic one to address these issues. I mean at the end of the day, it's about ensuring this folks have the job that they can provide for themselves, and their families on unemployment. I'm sorry to interrupt. Unemployment is pretty low people do have jobs, but they can't afford to live here. I. I. Just outrageously expensive from us people, and I agree in many ways, the challenges that there simply isn't enough construction, being done, and what is the role of the legislature to change that will, I think it's to ensure that they bring all the parties to the table, keep them at the table until the deal is done that ensures that we are constructing housing at scale and ensuring that those that construct that housing can actually afford to live in what they build and we are preserving and protecting our environment. So I think the, you know, the measures that legislatures put forward prioritizing building density around transit, hubs, well, but that was killed. That's not going to be voted on this year. It has there wasn't enough political will to get that even voted on. So when you have a proposal that can't even be voted on. How do you get anything done? But I do think it speaks to the challenge of this issue. Do you believe in publicly financed elections? I believe that we should ensure that every candidate has a real opportunity to, to have their voice hurt to make their case. And I think to the to the extent that we can move closer to publicly financed, elections all the better. What would then tell would that be would that entail? Limiting corporate donors. There's a variety of different options and in ways about going into a public financing. I think the ultimate goal is to ensure that grassroots candidates have the opportunity to make their case to voters to, to ensure that we get the best ideas in the best candidates elected to public office. Rusty heck's newly elected chair of the California Democratic party. Thank you for

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