Kamala Harris Backs First Black Lesbian Senator, Laphonza Butler

by Gee NY

Vice President Kamala Harris delivered the oath to Laphonza Butler as she presided over the Senate on Tuesday, Oct. 3, 2023, amid a standing ovation and cheers for the new Senator.

With her official swearing-in, Butler makes history as the first Black lesbian to serve as a U.S. Senator.

California Gov. Gavin Newsom appointed the Emily’s List president to fill the seat following the death of Feinstein last week.

“From her time as President of EMILY’s List to leading the state’s largest labor union, she has always stood up for what is right and has led with her heart and her values,” Newsom wrote in a social media post.

Newsom added that he has no doubt Butler will carry the baton left by Senator Feinstein.

When she was nominated on Monday, Butler said she had accepted the nomination to serve a state she has made my home.

“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 said.

Although Butler is currently based in the Washington area leading Emily’s List, a political organization that seeks to help elect women and candidates who favor abortion rights, Butler, now 44, spent years in the Golden State.

She was a leader with the Service Employees International Union, where she pushed for policies such as raising the state’s minimum wage to $15 an hour.

In 2018, she was appointed to the University of California Board of Regents and later served as an advisor to Harris during her 2020 presidential campaign.

Democrats narrowly control the Senate and the quick appointment by Newsom has given the Democratic caucus more wiggle room on close votes, including nominations that Republicans uniformly oppose.

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