The Ticket: California’s New Democratic Party Chairman Marks First 100 Days

SACRAMENTO -- California is known as the Golden State but when it comes to politics, it’s deep blue.

The Democratic Party is a powerhouse, from north to south. Almost all major cities have a Democrat as mayor and Democrats run the State Capitol.

And the party also has top figures at the federal level. The house speaker hails from the state, both senators are Democrats, with one even running for president.

In the House of Representatives, California has 53 seats. Democrats occupy all but seven of them.

There is one person who is working to keep that ball rolling and his name is Rusty Hicks. He’s the state chair of the California Democratic Party.

He was elected to the position back in June and last week marked his 100 days on the job.

“I’m still standing, I’m still smiling, I’m still excited about the work,” Hicks told FOX40.

He’s 39 and a Texas-native who now calls Southern California home.

Prior to his new job, the military veteran served as head of the Los Angeles County Federation of Labor.

“Led an organization of 300 local unions and 800,000 workers who don’t always see the world in exactly the same way,” he said. “And there are certainly some parallels between an organization like that and leading a movement of 9 million Democrats across the state.”

Hicks stepped into the role during a turbulent time for the party. His predecessor, Eric Bauman, resigned amid allegations of sexual harassment and abuse.

Hicks vowed to right the ship by restoring credibility and establishing a zero-tolerance policy on sexual harassment.

He said he kept that promise by enacting an expanded code of conduct and rules to ensure all complaints are thoroughly investigated.

“I believe that our party is stronger today in living out its values than it ever has been before,” Hicks said.

They are values he softly yet proudly states.

“That 40 million Californians have a good job. They can provide for themselves and their families,” Hicks explained. “They can see a doctor when they’re sick. That they have some path to dignity in retirement. That they can breathe both clean air and clean water and have a good job at the same time.”

FOX40 also talked about some of the state’s biggest challenges: housing, homelessness and poverty. They're issues Republicans point to as Democratic failures.

“Well, you only have to look at the top of the ticket in the presidential election to know that we have an administration that is not providing solutions," Hicks said. "It's only trying to demonize and create an other in our country. And so, it is a campaign tactic and ploy that is gone on for more than two and a half years.”

While Hicks said he wants to see a Democrat defeat President Donald Trump, he has another mission in 2020.

“I think the first and primary priority is making sure we protect and preserve the gains of 2018,” he told FOX40.

That said, he’s still eyeing those seven congressional seats held by Republicans.

“I believe in a 58-county strategy, which means that every county matters, every Democrat matters,” Hicks said. “Even those seats that are those regions that are deep red, there are great Democrats there that are active and engaged and passionate.”

Hicks said he will not personally be endorsing any of the Democrats in the presidential primary.

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