Laphonza Butler Wikipedia, Wife, Age, Bio, Family, Husband, Fast Facts

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Laphonza Butler is poised to become California’s newest senator, stepping into the void left by the passing of Sen. Dianne Feinstein.

A significant development is that Butler will be the first openly serving Black lesbian in the Senate.

The announcement from California Gov. Gavin Newsom’s office noted that she is the second Black woman to represent the state in the Senate, following Vice President Harris.

Newsom expressed that Butler, with a career dedicated to advocating for women, girls, and the labor force, will be sworn in on Wednesday, according to Politico.

Butler conveyed her “honored” acceptance of the position on Monday, expressing her commitment to upholding Feinstein’s legacy and working for the benefit of women, girls, workers, and unions in California.

Butler currently holds the position of president at Emily’s List, a national PAC supporting pro-choice Democratic women in politics.

She assumed this role in 2021, making history as the first woman of color and mother to lead Emily’s List.

Her tenure at Emily’s List was marked by efforts to endorse more nonwhite candidates, coupled with considerable success as a fundraiser, as reported by the New York Times.

Newsom’s office stated that Butler will step down from her role at Emily’s List upon assuming her position in the Senate.

Before her time at Emily’s List, Butler served as the director for public policy and campaigns at Airbnb.

She also worked as an adviser for Harris’ 2020 presidential campaign, according to CNN.

With over a decade of experience, Butler served as the president of SEIU Local 2015, California’s largest labor union, which represents nursing home and home-care workers.

Raised in Magnolia, Mississippi, in a working-class family, Butler faced challenges at a young age when her father passed away from a terminal illness when she was 16.

Butler’s mother, supporting her and her siblings through various jobs, played a crucial role in her upbringing, as mentioned in Newsom’s announcement.

She earned her bachelor’s degree in political science from Jackson State University in 2001.

Butler is married to Neneki Lee, and the couple has an 8-year-old daughter.

Lee holds the position of National Division Director for Public Services at SEIU.

The political landscape in California witnessed a shift when Feinstein announced earlier this year that she wouldn’t seek reelection in 2024.

The race for Feinstein’s seat in 2024 has become competitive and crowded, with candidates like Reps. Barbara Lee, Katie Porter, and Adam Schiff launching campaigns.

Butler’s appointment aligns with Newsom’s commitment to appoint a Black woman to Feinstein’s seat if she didn’t complete her full term.

As of now, Butler has not disclosed whether she intends to run for a full term in 2024.

The deadline for filing paperwork for the race is set for December 8, 2023, according to AP.

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California Governor Gavin Newsom has nominated Laphonza Butler, the president of Emily’s List and former labor leader, to fill the Senate seat left vacant by the late Sen. Dianne Feinstein.

Butler’s appointment is historic as she would be California’s first openly LGBTQ U.S. Senator and the first Black lesbian to serve openly in Congress.

She is also set to become the second Black woman to represent California in the Senate after Vice President Kamala Harris.

Governor Newsom highlighted Butler’s advocacy for women, girls, and working people, describing her as a trusted adviser to Vice President Harris.

He emphasized her commitment to continue Feinstein’s legacy in championing reproductive freedom, equal protection, and gun violence prevention.

Butler expressed her honor in accepting the governor’s nomination on the social media platform X, pledging to work for women and girls, workers and unions, struggling parents, and all Californians.

She is committed to serving the remainder of Feinstein’s term, which extends through 2024.

Meanwhile, Representatives Barbara Lee, Katie Porter, and Adam Schiff have launched campaigns for the Senate seat in the upcoming year.

Butler has been at the helm of Emily’s List since 2021, making history as the first Black woman to lead the national PAC supporting pro-choice Democratic women.

Upon assuming the Senate seat, she will step down from her role at Emily’s List.

Before her tenure at Emily’s List, Butler played pivotal roles in political campaigns, served as a key leader in Harris’ vice presidential bid, and was a senior adviser in Hillary Clinton’s 2016 presidential campaign.

For over a decade, Butler served as the president of California’s largest labor union, SEIU Local 2015, where she advocated for pay equity for women and a minimum wage increase to $15 per hour.

Butler’s upbringing in Magnolia, Mississippi, in a working-class family, was marked by challenges, including her father’s death when she was 16 due to a terminal illness.

Her mother’s hard work sustained the family.

She earned a bachelor’s degree in political science from Jackson State University, an HBCU, in 2001.

Currently married with an 8-year-old daughter, Butler has been residing in Maryland.

Butler’s announcement has garnered positive reactions among Democrats on Capitol Hill, with Senator Alex Padilla expressing his honor in welcoming her to the United States Senate.

Senate Majority Leader Chuck Schumer voiced his confidence in Butler’s abilities, anticipating that her extensive experience and commitment to public service will contribute significantly to the Senate Democrats’ work for the American people.

LGBTQ and abortion-rights advocates celebrated Butler’s nomination, acknowledging her historic role in providing an additional voice for the LGBTQ+ community in Congress and recognizing her national leadership in the fight for reproductive freedom.