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CALIFORNIA Governor Gavin Newsom chose Laphonza Butler to fill Dianne Feinstein’s Senate seat following her 2023 passing.
The selection was made two years after Gov. Newsom pledged that he would name a Black woman to the Senate if a seat became available, and now Americans want to know more about her.
Who is Laphonza Butler?
Laphonza Butler is best known for her career as a Democratic politician.
Prior to being named to the Senate, she was widely recognized as the president of Emily’s List, a political action committee that’s dedicated to helping elect Democratic female candidates in favor of abortion rights.
The daughter of working-class parents, she began her career in the early 2000s after graduating from Jackson State University with a bachelor’s degree in political science and government.
She also served as a Senior Advisor for Hillary Clinton’s campaign in 2016 and was the president of the Local 2015 of the Service Employees International Union, where she lobbied for several policies, including raising California’s minimum wage to $15.
“We have to figure out how to build the broadest possible movement on behalf of solving big problems,” Butler told The Los Angeles Times in 2015.
“We have a climate crisis. The criminal justice system is broken. We have poverty. No longer are our problems bilateral, between one union and one factory. It’s going to take the collective voice to solve those problems.”
When Butler isn’t in the office, she can often be found at home, spending time with her wife, Neneki Lee, and their daughter, Nylah.
Where is Laphonza Butler from?
Butler’s work in California has not gone unnoticed, but unlike most of the state’s politicians, she is not originally from there.
Online reports indicate that she was actually born in Mississippi.
A Federal Election Commission filing also states that she has not resided in California since at least September 2021, according to the New York Post.
Instead, she has been living across the country in Maryland, however, a spokesperson for Newsom’s office confirmed that she is preparing to move back to the Golden State.
“Butler is a longtime California resident and homeowner. She moved to the DC area when she became president of Emily’s List. Butler has already re-registered [to vote] in California,” the spokesperson told The Post.
At this time, Butler has not commented on her residential status.
Who is Laphonza Butler’s wife, Neneki Lee?
Outside of being known as Butler’s wife, Lee is known for her career with the Service Employees International Union (SEIU), a labor union that represents almost 2million workers across the United States and Canada.
Lee joined the organization in November 1997 as the public services’ national division director and now, she serves as the deputy to the secretary treasurer, according to her LinkedIn profile.
At this time, additional details on Lee’s personal life are unclear because she often stays out of the spotlight.