NAJEE’S NOTES: Heather Hutt working for Kamala Harris

June 1, 2017

Heather Hutt, a longtime political activist, was recently recognized by the California Democratic Party African American Caucus with an outstanding service award for her decades of service to our community.

That was the latest accolade for Hutt who for years has been the power behind the power serving as district director to former state Sen. Isadore Hall, and now being selected as Sen. Kamala Harris’ new Southern California deputy director.

Harris said, “My state team is comprised of diverse leaders and well-respected professionals who each have deep ties to California. Heather, who is from the community, is a seasoned professional with a diverse range of skills and expertise, and I am excited to have her on our team working on behalf of all constituents.”

Hutt’s area of operation includes Los Angeles, Orange, San Bernardino and Riverside counties.

I ran into Hutt, and Sen. Harris at a recent town hall meeting at Holman United Methodist Church and, true to form, Hutt was busy making sure things went smoothly for her new boss. Hutt clearly has hit the ground running, stating “It’s an amazing experience and I’m proud and honored to have been chosen to work for Senator Harris. She is the first African American female to be attorney general for the state of California. That’s incredible.

“And now, she is only the second female in the history of the United States to hold the position of U.S. senator. I prayed a lot, to be able to get a position and work for somebody like that, but who better? It’s really about the passion for your community that puts you in a position where you want to work with somebody who [also] has that passion”

Hutt, without question, was born to do the work she is doing and our community should be very excited and grateful to Sen. Harris for hiring her. There is no doubt she will continue to do her work with excellence and we couldn’t be more proud of our homegrown talent continuing to be of service.

Maxine Waters, the longtime Los Angeles Democrat, who has attracted many young followers who call her “Auntie Maxine,” was interrupted and eventually had her microphone cut off at the recent California Democratic Party convention. Waters, to her credit, continued her rousing anti-Trump speech from the floor even after the sound to her microphone was cut off.

But how and why it happened is still disturbing. Waters, who refused to attend Trump’s inauguration, told the audience she stood by her decision and began laying out the reasons she sees him as unfit for the presidency, including the investigation into his ties to Russia.

In the middle of her speech, as the meeting ran past its time slot, she was approached by a man who appeared to work for the convention center.

“Hey, leave her alone,” audience members shouted as he interrupted to speak to her privately, prompting caucus  Darren Parker, the head of the California Democratic Party African American Caucus, to shoo the man away.

“That’s all right, that’s OK — they try to shut me up all the time,” Waters quipped to loud cheers as she continued to speak. The sound from the congresswoman’s microphone was cut off soon after, sending the roughly 300 people in the room into confusion.

Parker said he was working with state party officials to determine who was responsible for shutting off the sound.

“This is a very unusual situation, and we are collectively trying to figure out a path forward to address what happened and make sure these things do not happen in the future,” Parker said.

The African American Caucus has asked the state party to issue a formal apology to Waters and its members for what it called disrespect by the private subcontractor. The caucus said it had concluded an investigation with the Sacramento City Council and executive staff from the California Democratic Party to determine what transpired.

They learned the state party retained the event planning firm Frontrunner to produce the convention, attended by nearly 3,000 people from across the state. Frontrunner subcontracted the audio and visual work to a separate firm that has not been identified.

The caucus said it was an employee of that firm who approached Waters and then interrupted her remarks by pulling the plug connecting her microphone to the audio system.

Executive board members of the African American Caucus have since sent a letter to the newly elected leadership of the state party. Along with an apology, it is asking for “a commitment to sensitivity training for contracted and subcontracted employees and better training on protocols when meetings run longer than the contracted time.

“It also is asking for reimbursement of the meeting expenses associated with the event, and for party leadership to work with the caucus and develop better security protocols.

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