EMILY’s List President Laphonza Butler has been nominated to replace late Senator Dianne Feinstein, who died last week, representing California.
Governor Gavin Newsom chose Butler to take the seat left vacant by the death of Dianne Feinstein, who passed away last week at 90. The oldest sitting U.S. senator and member of Congress, she was also the longest-serving U.S. senator from California.
Under Californian law, the governor holds the right to name a successor in case of the sitting senator’s death.
Butler, 44, will complete the Senate term of Feinstein, which runs through 2024.
Leader of the nation’s largest organization dedicated to Democratic women who support abortion rights, Butler will make history as California’s first openly LGBTQ Senator and the first openly Black lesbian to serve in Congress.
A longtime senior adviser to Vice President Kamala Harris, she will also be the the second Black woman to represent California in the Senate following Harris.
“An advocate for women and girls, a second-generation fighter for working people, and a trusted adviser to Vice President Harris, Laphonza Butler represents the best of California, and she’ll represent us proudly in the United States Senate,” said Governor Newsom. “As we mourn the enormous loss of Senator Feinstein, the very freedoms she fought for — reproductive freedom, equal protection, and safety from gun violence — have never been under greater assault. Laphonza will carry the baton left by Senator Feinstein, continue to break glass ceilings, and fight for all Californians in Washington D.C.”
With her selection to the Senate, Butler will step down from her role as president of EMILY’s List, where she was the first woman of color to lead the organization. Before joining EMILY’s List, Butler ran political campaigns, including for Harris and former Secretary of State Hillary Clinton.
For more than a decade, she served as the president of the largest labor union in California — SEIU Local 2015.
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