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California Governor picks...

California Governor picks Mississippi-native Butler to fill U.S. Senate seat

By: Frank Corder - October 2, 2023

(Photo from Emily's List Facebook page)

A Magnolia-native and Jackson State alumnus who leads a pro-abortion Democratic women candidates’ organization will fill the U.S. Senate seat left vacant by the death of Dianne Feinstein.

California Governor Gavin Newsom is appointing Laphonza Butler to fill the U.S. Senate seat left vacant by the death of Dianne Feinstein, the longest serving female Senator in U.S. history.

Butler, a black woman who will be the first openly LGBTQ person representing California in the U.S. Senate, currently lives in Maryland. She is the President of Emily’s List, a political fundraising organization that supports Democratic women candidates who support abortion. EMILYs List has raised over $700 million to elect Democratic pro-choice women candidates.

According to Newsom’s office, Butler owns a home in the Los Angeles, California area and will reregister to vote in the state prior to her being sworn in to the U.S. Senate, which could come as early as Tuesday evening.

Butler was born and raised in Magnolia, Mississippi and attended South Pike High School. She later attended Jackson State University and earned a political science degree.

Prior to joining Emily’s List, Butler was a union organizer, working her way up to serve as the president of the largest union in California focused on homecare workers. She was also a senior advisor to Kamala Harris’ presidential campaign and a senior advisor to Hillary Clinton’s presidential campaign.

During her work as a political strategist and activist, Butler pushed for California to raise its minimum wage to $15 per hour and called for the increase of income taxes on the wealthiest California residents.

It is the second senatorial appointment Newsom has made during his time as Governor. The first appointment went to the state’s then-Secretary of State Alex Padilla to fill the seat left vacant by Kamala Harris when she was sworn in as Vice President. Newsom drew backlash from special interest groups over not appointing a black female to fill the seat. The Governor had pledged to appoint a black woman to fill Feinstein’s seat.

About the Author(s)
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Frank Corder

Frank Corder is a native of Pascagoula. For nearly two decades, he has reported and offered analysis on government, public policy, business and matters of faith. Frank’s interviews, articles, and columns have been shared throughout Mississippi as well as in national publications such as the Daily Caller. He is a frequent guest on radio and television, providing insight and commentary on the inner workings of the Magnolia State. Frank has served his community in both elected and appointed public office, hosted his own local radio and television programs, and managed private businesses all while being an engaged husband and father. Email Frank: