California Governor Gavin Newsom has chosen Laphonza Butler, the president of EMILY’s List, to fill the US Senate seat left vacant after the passing of Sen. Dianne Feinstein. This appointment honors Newsom’s previous commitment to nominate a black woman for Feinstein’s position if it ever became available. EMILY’s List is a Democratic political action committee (PAC) with a mission to support the election of pro-abortion Democratic women to public office. The PAC prioritizes diversity as a driving force for progressive change and boasts a significant national community of pro-choice advocates.

Newsom released a statement announcing his choice:

“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.”

Before her role at EMILY’s List, Butler held the position of North American public policy director at Airbnb and was a senior adviser during Vice President Kamala Harris’ 2020 presidential campaign. With this appointment, Butler will make history as California’s first openly LGBTQ individual to serve in the Senate.

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