• Press Release

EMILYs List Statements on Laphonza Butler’s Appointment to the U.S. Senate

October 2, 2023


WASHINGTON, D.C. – Today, in response to the news that Gov. Gavin Newsom will name EMILYs List President Laphonza Butler to the U.S. Senate from California, EMILYs List released the following statements:

Statement from EMILYs List Board Chair Rebecca Haile

“Laphonza Butler is a groundbreaking leader who has done terrific work in her two years leading EMILYs List. While we will miss her at the helm, we couldn’t be prouder to see her sworn in as California’s newest senator. EMILYs List was created to get more Democratic pro-choice women in government and I am thrilled to see my friend put that into action by taking on this role. As a labor leader, the only Black woman in the Senate and the first Black LGBTQ+ senator, I know Laphonza will bring all of us into the Senate with her as she does the critical work of ensuring our government works for and represents all of us. At EMILYs List, Laphonza has added to the organization’s powerful legacy and left us in a strong position to continue the work we’ve done for nearly 40 years, helping Democratic pro-choice women run, win, and change the world.” 

Statement from Laphonza Butler:

“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. 

The truly bittersweet part of this appointment is leaving my role at EMILYs List. I have been proud of the work we have done and am grateful to all of the members of the Board, the staff, our donors, and candidates who work every day to ensure more Democratic pro-choice women can run, win, and change the world. 

For women and girls, for workers and unions, for struggling parents waiting for our leaders to bring opportunity back to their homes, for all of California, I’m ready to serve.”

Statement from EMILYs List Founder and Chair Emerita Ellen Malcolm

“We’re enormously proud that Laphonza will be the fourth woman senator for California since Dianne Feinstein was elected in 1992. Laphonza has deep political experience in California and has dedicated her life to making opportunities possible for women and working people. Gov. Newsom has made an extraordinary choice.”

Laphonza Butler Bio:

Laphonza Butler is the third president of EMILYs List. As a leader in Democratic politics, campaign strategy, and the labor movement for two decades, she has dedicated her life to empowering women and supporting them in finding their voice, and using it to make meaningful change.

Prior to joining EMILYs List, Butler served as Director of Public Policy and Campaigns in North America for Airbnb. She also was a partner at SCRB Strategies, a political consulting firm where she was a strategist for candidates running up and down the ballot and a senior advisor to Vice President Kamala Harris’s presidential campaign.

With nearly 20 years in the labor movement, Butler has served as the president of the biggest union in California, and the nation’s largest homecare workers union, SEIU Local 2015. She was elected to this position at just 30 years old, one of the youngest to take on this role. As president, Butler was the leading voice, strategist, and architect of efforts to address pay inequity for women in California and a top advocate for raising the state’s minimum wage to $15 an hour – the first state in the nation to do so, benefiting millions of working women in low wage jobs. That effort also gave hundreds of thousands of home workers access to paid time off. She also served as an SEIU International Vice President and President of the SEIU California State Council.

Throughout her career, Butler has been highly regarded as a strategist working to elect Democratic women candidates in political offices across California and nationally. A long-time supporter of Kamala Harris in her California runs, Butler was a key leader in Vice President Harris’s presidential campaign. She served as a senior advisor to Hillary Clinton’s presidential campaign in California during the primary and general elections. Most recently, Butler was a campaign operative behind the campaign to make the Los Angeles Board of Supervisors all-women for the first time in its history with the election of Holly Mitchell.

She has been a member of the University of California Board of Regents and a member of the board of directors for the Children’s Defense Fund and BLACK PAC.

Butler grew up in Magnolia, MS, and attended one of the country’s premier HBCUs, Jackson State University. She shares a daughter Nylah with her partner Neneki Lee.

EMILYs List, the nation’s largest resource for women in politics, works to elect Democratic pro-choice women up and down the ballot and across the country with a goal of fighting for our rights and our communities. Our work is centered around a fundamental vision: Run. Win. Change the World. EMILYs List has raised $850 million in service to that vision and has helped Democratic women win competitive elections by recruiting and training candidates, supporting and helping build strong campaigns, researching the issues that impact women and families, running one of the largest independent expenditure operations for Democrats, and turning out women voters to the polls. Since our founding in 1985, we have helped elect the country’s first woman as vice president, 175 women to the House, 26 to the Senate, 20 governors, and over 1,500 women to state and local office. More than 40% of the candidates EMILYs List has helped elect to Congress have been women of color. Visit www.emilyslist.org for more information.