Jackson State University alum Laphonza Butler has been selected to fill the late Democratic Sen. Dianne Feinstein’s Senate seat, California Gov. Gavin Newsom’s office confirmed Sunday evening.
Butler will become the only Black female senator serving in the Senate and the third in US history. She will also be the first openly LGBTQ+ person to represent California in the chamber.
“I am honored to accept Gov. Newsom’s nomination to be a U.S. Senator for a state I have long called home,” Butler said in a statement Monday. “I am humbled by the Governor’s trust. Sen. Dianne Feinstein’s leadership and legacy are immeasurable. I will do my best to honor her by devoting my time and energy to serving the people of California and the people of this great nation.”
Butler has served as the president of EMILY’s List, which works to elect Democratic women who support abortion rights, since 2021, when she became the first Black woman to lead the organization.
Prior to her role at EMILY’s List, Butler worked at Airbnb as a director of public policy and was a senior campaign adviser to Vice-President Kamala Harris during her 2020 presidential campaign. She has also been heavily involved in the labor movement, serving as a union leader at the largest union in California.
In appointing Butler, Gov. Newsom is following through on a pledge he made more than two years ago that he would appoint a Black woman if either of California’s Senate seats opened up.
“As we mourn the enormous loss of Sen. Feinstein, the very freedoms she fought for – reproductive freedom, equal protection, and safety from gun violence – have never been under greater assault. Laphonza has spent her entire career fighting for women and girls and has been a fierce advocate for working people,” Newsom said in a statement on X.
In California, the governor has the power to appoint a senator to serve until the next regularly scheduled statewide general election, meaning Butler will serve until the next senator, whom voters will choose in the November 2024 election, is sworn in.
Butler is expected to be sworn in on Wednesday, per The New York Times.
Source link : hbcubuzz.com