The newest US Senator, Laphonza Butler, was sworn in on Tuesday by Kamala Harris and officially became the first LGBTQ+ senator of California, the first LGBTQ+ person of color in the Senate, and the 3rd Black woman to hold the position.
Sen. Bulter was appointed by California Gov. Gavin Newsom to fill the seat of Sen. Dianne Feinstein. Sen. Butler is a longtime union advocate and abortion rights advocate, serving as president of Emily’s List, an organization focused on electing Democratic women who support abortion rights.
In a statement following her appointment, Sen. Butler said, “I’m honored to accept Gov. Gavin Newsom’s nomination to be U.S. Senator for a state I have made my home and honored by his trust in me to serve the people of California and this great nation.”
“No one will ever measure up to the legacy of Sen. Dianne Feinstein, but I will do my best to honor her legacy and leadership by committing to work for women and girls, workers and unions, struggling parents, and all of California. I am ready to serve,” she continued.
The Congressional Black Caucaus released a statement celebrating Sen. Butler’s appointment, which read, “For many years, Laphonza Butler has been a champion for women and girls, students, and union workers, and we believe she will bring that same fight to the U.S. Senate on behalf of Californians and our entire nation. Laphonza will bring an important perspective to the upper house at a time when the rights of women and the LGBTQ+ community are under attack.”
Sen. Butler will serve the remainder of Sen. Feinstein’s term, which ends early 2025. It has not been announced if Sen. Butler has decided to run for re-election. Governor Newsom said on Monday that he told Sen. Butler that she could make her own decision about running for a full term, stating, “I have an incredible appointee and she’ll make a decision with no constraints, no expectations.”