California Gov. Newsom Appoints Laphonza Butler To Fill Feinstein’s Seat, First LGBTQ Woman Of Color In Senate
California Gov. Gavin Newsom (D) has appointed Laphonza Butler, the president of the political action committee EMILY’s List, to fill the seat vacated by the death of Sen. Dianne Feinstein, who died on Thursday. Butler currently heads EMILY’s List, which works to elect women who support abortion rights.
She will be the first openly LGBTQ person of color in the Senate, as well as the first LGBTQ representative from California.
Following the nomination on Monday, Butler issued a statement: “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.”
In California, governors can appoint a senator to fill a vacant seat until the next regularly scheduled general election. Butler will remain a senator until the November 2024 elections when voters will pick the next senator. It is unclear if she will run for a full term.
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Butler was the first black woman to lead EMILY’s List when she became its head in 2021.
On Friday, she lauded the accomplishments of Feinstein in a social media message, terming the late politician “a titan in the Senate” and “a legendary figure for women in politics and around the country.”
This is the fourth high-profile nomination that Newsom has made. Previously, he made nominations for another Senate seat, Attorney General Rob Bonta and Secretary of State Shirley Weber, who was thought to be a potential replacement for Feinstein.
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