Henry Huerta, Superb Berniecrat Activist, Has Died

My friend Henry Huerta died on Thursday, July 28. He was born on July 7, 1954 – he was 68.

When I needed information about national and state Democratic politics, and the local politics of northwest Orange County and the adjacent portions of LA County, I had one truly superior source: my friend Henry Huerta of Whittier. We both shopped at the La Habra Costco, right in between our cities, and seemed to have a knack for running into each other — automatically extending any Costco run by a half-hour or more. Henry was a Bernie Sanders delegate in both 2016 and 2020, accompanied by his brilliant and loving daughter Zenaida Huerta — she was the youngest Bernie delegate, in fact — about whom he positively glowed with pride. Henry was the field general fighting the fight against the largely corrupt, largely anti-progressive, establishment that sought to control nominating meetings in this part of the area — and he was one of the few political activists I felt I could completely trust. Saying that he’ll be missed understates things by at least an order of magnitude.

Henry Huerta, at right, with his daughter Zenaida. Photo taken from her public Twitter feed.

His Twitter bio described him this way:

Bernie Sanders DNC delegate 2016, 2020.
CA Democratic Central Committee.
U of Oregon grad. 49ers Warriors.
Husband. Father to great kids.

(“49ers and Warriors.” Well, nobody’s perfect!)

When establishment unions and corporate-funded candidates had huge tents giving out all sorts of goodies to get people to vote for their candidate slates for CDP and elsewhere, Henry put together smaller booths that focuses mostly in horchata, tamales, and sincere smiles. (I was honored to be able to ladle out the horchata and bring it to people in a lines a few times.) Henry was descended from one of the original organizers of the United Farm Workers — not Dolores Huerta, as you might imagine — and he knew how to organize.

Zenaida announced his death Friday July 29 on Twitter like this:

It is with great heartbreak that I announce the death of my father Henry Huerta @huerta_familia. He fought cancer as hard as he could, and died peacefully last night surrounded by family. He was my best friend. Words cannot describe my grief. Life will never be the same.

Her Facebook post contained some added detail.

It is with great heartbreak and sorrow that I announce the death of my father Henry Huerta. He fought a sudden cancer diagnosis as hard as he could, and died peacefully surrounded by his family last night. He was a friend and role model to so many people, and we will miss him everyday. Words cannot describe the grief and heartbreak of our family right now. My dad was so loved. He was a good husband, dad, brother, son, and friend. He did not want to leave us. And neither did we. Life without him will never be the same.

July 7, 1954 – July 28, 2022
More information on services to come.

Rep. Ro Khanna — who had his own mutual admiration society with Henry — offered these thoughts:

I am so sorry for your loss. I remember @huerta_familia very fondly for his passion for Bernie Sanders and progressive causes. He was one of our best leaders in California. My heart goes out to you. He made an incredible difference.

He was a great man and a great human being.

About Greg Diamond

Somewhat verbose attorney, semi-retired due to disability, residing in northwest Brea. Occasionally runs for office against bad people who would otherwise go unopposed. Got 45% of the vote against Bob Huff for State Senate in 2012; Josh Newman then won the seat in 2016. In 2014 became the first attorney to challenge OCDA Tony Rackauckas since 2002; Todd Spitzer then won that seat in 2018. Every time he's run against some rotten incumbent, the *next* person to challenge them wins! He's OK with that. Corrupt party hacks hate him. He's OK with that too. He does advise some local campaigns informally and (so far) without compensation. (If that last bit changes, he will declare the interest.)