On Sunday, Politico first reported that Gov. Gavin Newsom is expected to choose Laphonza Butler to replace Sen. Dianne Feinstein in the Senate. Feinstein passed away on Sept. 29 at the age of 90.
In a press release, Gov. Newsom said, “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.”
Butler, who would become the first openly LGBTQ person to represent California in the Senate, currently serves as the president of EMILY’s List, an American political action committee that aims to help elect Democratic female candidates in favor of abortion rights to office.
She is the first Black woman to lead the organization.
According to her LinkedIn, Butler has also spent time serving as the director of Airbnb, president of California’s largest labor organization, and as a senior adviser to Hillary For America, which was a political organization that helped campaign for Hillary Clinton to become president.
Butler’s profile says she received her Bachelor of Arts in Political Science and Government from Jackson State University, which is a historically Black college or university (HBCU).
Politico adds that she worked closely with former California Governor Jerry Brown, “on policies like hiking the minimum wage to $15 per hour and raising taxes for wealthy Californians.”
The organization adds that she also served on the University of California Board of Regents.
Her appointment serves as the fulfillment of a promise made by Gov. Newsom in 2021 to fill the seat vacated by Kamala Harris with a Black woman.
“Newsom earned a bit of time on Saturday when the Senate cleared a stopgap funding bill late in the day, sending it to Biden’s desk for his signature. By that point, however, Newsom and aides were already well on their way to filling the seat, capping a dramatic chapter for the governor and his state and delivering to the Senate its first Black woman since Harris,” Politico wrote.