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Newsom Picks Non-Profit Leader To Fill Feinstein’s Senate Seat

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Sacramento, CA — Governor Gavin Newsom has picked who will fill the seat left vacant by the late Senator Dianne Feinstein.

Laphonza Butler, President of the group Emily’s List, is the choice. Newsom says Butler has been a trusted advisor to Vice President Kamala Harris and will become the first black lesbian member of Congress.

She was previously a member of the California Board of Regents, as appointed by former Governor Jerry Brown.

“An advocate for women and girls, a second-generation fighter for working people, and a trusted adviser to Vice President Harris, Laphonza Butler represents the best of California, and she’ll represent us proudly in the United States Senate,” said Governor Newsom. “As we mourn the enormous loss of Senator Feinstein, the very freedoms she fought for — reproductive freedom, equal protection, and safety from gun violence — have never been under greater assault. Laphonza will carry the baton left by Senator Feinstein, continue to break glass ceilings, and fight for all Californians in Washington D.C.”

Republicans are criticizing the move as Butler, who spent years working in California, now lists her home residence as Maryland, after relocating in 2021.

Assembly Republican Leader James Gallagher says, “Out of 40 million California residents, Gavin Newsom seriously couldn’t find one to serve in the Senate? Heck, if he wanted someone with California roots and legislative experience, he could have given me a call. Californians deserve real representation, not a political favor for a well-connected campaign operative who doesn’t even live here.”

The Governor’s Office says Butler will re-register to vote in California prior to filling the seat.

Butler received a bachelor of arts degree in political science from Jackson State University. Butler is married to her wife, Neneki, and they have a daughter, Nylah.

Feinstein’s term runs through 2024.