Opinion: CADEM asks Party Chair Rusty Hicks to resign or respond; Rusty “I will not resign”
Opinion article submitted by Helene Rouvier, AD2 delegate, Progressive Caucus Northern Vice-Chair:
Delegates will now petition the Party to agendize removal of an officer at the May Executive Board meeting
Last month, over two dozen concerned delegates to the California Democratic Party submitted charges for Chair Rusty Hicks to resign, citing his concurrent run for State Assembly in District 2 as a “conflict of interest” and “neglect of duties” per Party bylaws. Other delegates have claimed in private that Party Chair Hicks, who is a former head of the Los Angeles County Federation of Labor, is “in a position to decide Party resources and actions while personally running for one of the seats that the party would spend money in.” More than 130 Democratic activists and delegates have subsequently added their names to that call.
The charges reference California Democratic Party Bylaws at Article Ill, Section 6: “An officer of This Committee may be removed from office for misconduct or neglect of duty in office …” The undersigned delegates seek removal of State Party Chair Rusty Hicks pursuant to Section 6. Hicks is running for State Assembly, kicking off his campaign with no prior notice to the Party and no discussion with delegates as to the best path forward for the Party as it fights with a national coalition to save our Republic and the Democratic institutions. His distraction from Party duties and imminent departure during the election season will cause instability that could decide control of the House of Representatives. Hicks has engaged in misconduct and neglect of duty by placing his ambition ahead of the interests of the Party. Taking on a second more-than-full-time job and possibly leaving his position during an election with the highest imaginable stakes is misconduct and the antithesis of any reasonable course of conduct. His duties running his own campaign do not leave sufficient time to serve the Party without neglect. Further, he is making regular decisions for his campaign which are in direct conflict with the interests of the Party.
Refusing to address conflict of interest, misconduct, and self-dealing, Chair Hicks responded only with the statement that “The claims are baseless and without merit. I will not resign.”
Delegates will now petition the Party to agendize removal of an officer at the May Executive Board meeting. Thirty valid original petitions must be signed by members of the CDP Executive Board and submitted to the Party Office in Sacramento by February 28th. Unfortunately, that date is well after the primary, so valuable time will be lost during what has been termed “the most important election of our lives – democracy is on the line.”
As noted by Executive Board member Hélène Rouvier, “The California Democratic Party sends more Representatives to Congress than any other state. From Crescent City to San Diego, control of the House of Representatives goes through California. It is simply impossible for any human to simultaneously manage the campaigns for every County, Assembly race, Senate race, statewide race, and so much more all at the same time as running their own more-than-full-time campaign for Assembly. Rusty is not superhuman. He is cutting corners and we will all pay the price.”