EMILY’s List President Laphonza Butler, the nation’s newest U.S. Senator. Butler was appointed by California Gov. Gavin Newsom to fill the seat left vacant by the death of Sen. Dianne Feinstein.

Hey Sis (and every Brother who loves us)!

Certainly you’ve heard by now that once again, there is a Black woman serving in the U.S. Senate. But if not, we are here to catch you up right quick!

California Gov. Gavin Newsom appointed EMILY’S List president Laphonza Butler to fill the seat vacated by Democratic Sen. Dianne Feinstein, who died Sept. 29 at age 90. This move makes Butler, 44, the third Black woman to serve in the Senate, preceded by fellow Democrats Kamala Harris of California and Carol Moseley Braun of Illinois.

Now-Vice President Harris swore Butler in on Oct. 3 on the Senate floor. Butler received a standing ovation from her new colleagues who were present for the brief ceremony (you can watch below).

Vice President Kamala Harris delivers the oath of office to Laphonza Butler, junior senator from California (White House via YouTube)

A longtime union organizer, Butler is well-known in California political circles. She served on the state’s Board of Regents from 2018-2021, when she left to become the first Black woman president of EMILY’s List. A Mississippi native, Butler earned a bachelor’s degree in political science from historically Black Jackson State University.

Butler will serve the remainder of Feinstein’s term, which ends next year. Three House Democrats, Reps. Barbara Lee, Katie Porter and Adam Schiff, have announced they are running for the seat. By appointing Butler, Newsom fulfilled his 2021 promise to name a Black woman to the seat if Feinstein were to resign.

And TRUST, Black women made sure to hold Newsom to that promise. As The 19th’s Errin Haines reports, the sisters began mobilizing after Feinstein said earlier this year that she would not seek re-election, and reminded him of that promise after Feinstein died. Be sure to read Sis Errin’s account, if you want ALL the tea on that.

That’s it for now. Hope to see you in this space again, as we take the sisters off mute, one story at a time!


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