On June 22, 2020, I received a disheartening and disturbing call from Rusty Hicks, chair of the California Democratic Party. Hicks has worked as a labor union activist and has been a longtime supporter of labor and law enforcement. CSLEA and CSLEA’s political consultant, Peter Mitchell, have worked with Hicks as he transitioned to his post as California Democratic Party chair. The purpose of the phone call was to inform me that the California Democratic Party would not be accepting contributions from CSLEA and other law enforcement unions as of June 22nd. These contributions are raised, dollar-by-dollar, by our hard-working and dedicated rank-and-file union members.
I understand with large organizations, such as the California Democratic Party, in which there are thousands of voting members, how difficult it can be to get consensus. I also understand how sad and tough times are right now. Perhaps Party Chair Hicks is just delivering the message, however, I want to make it clear our CSLEA members, and all those in hundreds of other state, county (DSA), municipal (POA) and other public safety positions, do a fantastic and sometimes underappreciated job in public safety and serving, helping, loving and protecting the public.
CSLEA and its members have been stalwart supporters of the California Democratic Party for decades as a top supporter. I don’t believe now is the time for California Democrats to be less inclusive and divisive. We will not hold the actions of the California Democratic Party delegates as a broad brush that speaks for hundreds of other state candidates or incumbents. Silencing one’s voice in politics is something CSLEA fought shoulder-to-shoulder with the California Democratic Party for decades to defeat. We should all embrace our cherished right to assemble, to support labor organizations, our First Amendment rights, and ability to be involved in politics together.