Jackson State alumna and President of EMILY's List Laphonza Butler has been appointed by California Governor Gavin Newsom to occupy the seat of late Democratic Senator Dianne Feinstein per a report by NBC News. Butler's appointment is historic, as she will be the third black woman to serve in the Senate and the first openly LGBTQ person to represent California. Butler will serve in the capacity of senator until the winner of the 2024 elections is sworn in.
Butler spoke about the appointment in a statement on Monday, saying, “I am honored to accept Gov. Newsom’s nomination to be a U.S. Senator for a state I have long called home. 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 attended Jackson State from 1997-2001 and obtained a Bachelor of Arts in Political Science and Government. Upon finishing her matriculation at Jackson State, she worked in several capacities including leading SEIU Local 2015, the largest union in California, as well as a member of the University of California Board of Regents and the Director of Public Policy and Campaigns in North America for Airbnb.
She is also a longtime ally of Howard University alumna and United States Vice President Kamala Harris. She served as an advisor on Harris's 2020 presidential campaign. She has served as President of EMILY's List, an American political action committee is dedicated to supporting the election of Democratic female candidates who advocate for abortion rights to public office, since 2021.
Butler will be sworn in on Tuesday at 3 PM EST according to NBC News.