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Laphonza Butler to soon fill Diane Feinstein’s vacant Senate seat

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California Gov. Gavin Newsom will soon name Laphonza Butler, a Democratic strategist and adviser to Kamala Harris’ presidential campaign, to fill the vacant U.S. Senate seat held by the late Sen. Dianne Feinstein, a spokesman in his office announced Sunday.

Feinstein, the oldest member of Congress and the longest-serving woman in the Senate, passed at age 90 on Sept. 29.

Laphonza Butler serves as the president of EMILYs list

Butler is currently the president of EMILYs List, an organization working to get Democratic, pro-choice women elected to state and nationwide offices.

In selecting Butler, Newsom fulfilled his pledge to appoint a Black woman if Feinstein’s seat should become vacant.

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Previously, Laphonza Butler worked as a policy director for Airbnb and political consulting firm SCRB Strategies, according to her EMILY’s List biography. At SCRB, she worked alongside Newsom’s most prominent strategists, per the LA Times

Butler was previously an adviser to Vice President Kamala Harris’ presidential campaign in 2020, and before that a labor leader.

Laphonza Butler
Butler with Vice President Kamala Harris in December 2019. (Twitter)

“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,” Newsom said in his statement.

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Butler has been a public servant for years

One of Butler’s most significant contributions to society has been her work in labor organizing and advocacy.

She served as the President of SEIU Local 2015, a California-based labor union representing over 400,000 long-term care workers.

Under her leadership, the union achieved remarkable victories. Most notably raising the minimum wage for home care workers and improving working conditions for healthcare employees.

Laphonza Butler
Laphonza Butler speaks onstage at the Emily’s List Oscars Week Discussion in Los Angeles in March 2022. (ARAYA DOHENY/GETTY IMAGES)

A quick appointment by Newsom is expected to provide the Democratic caucus more wiggle room on tight votes, including nominations that Republicans uniformly oppose.

Laphonza Butler could be sworn in as early as Tuesday evening when the Senate returns to session.

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