52. Rusty Hicks
He’s frequently referred to as a rising star in the labor movement, but Rusty Hicks, as executive director of the 300-union, 800,000-member-strong Los Angeles County Federation of Labor, is already high up in the hierarchy. Hicks was just 34 when he took over the top slot in 2014, the hand-picked successor of Maria Elena Durazo, who left to take a national union job. He was raised by a single mother in Fort Worth, Texas; his mother was a bookkeeper, his grandfather a grocery clerk and his grandmother a teacher’s aide. Hicks knows the Capitol, having served on the staffs of Assemblymen Ted Lieu and the late Mike Gordon. Quoted in the L.A. Times, SoCal political consultant Parke Skelton said of Hicks, “He is not the kind of rabble-rousing, inspirational figure that Maria Elena is, but he is a really good tactician who knows how money can be spent effectively in political campaigns. And he’s really good at building coalitions among Fed members to keep them together in a common effort.” All good reasons he’s seen as a guy to watch.
Updated Aug. 29, 2o17