Prominent Black, LGBTQ, and Elected Leaders on Appointment of Laphonza Butler to U.S. Senate

Laphonza Butler – courtesy photo

Special to the Vanguard

Sacramento, CA – Civic leaders from across the nation are praising Governor Gavin Newsom’s appointment of Laphonza Butler to the United States Senate. Butler will be sworn in by Vice President Kamala Harris at the U.S. Capitol Tuesday.

Butler, a longtime labor leader and advocate for women and working people, will be the first openly LGBTQ person to represent California in the Senate. She will also be the first Black lesbian to openly serve in Congress in American history and the second Black woman to represent California in the Senate following Vice President Kamala Harris.

“I’m honored to accept Governor Newsom’s appointment to be U.S. Senator for a state I have made my home and honored by his trust in me to serve the people of California and this great nation,” said Senator Designate Butler. “No one will ever measure up to the legacy of Senator 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.”

Senator Majority Leader Chuck Schumer said, “Senate Democrats are delighted to welcome Laphonza Butler. She joins the Senate at a key time in our nation’s history. I’m confident that her breadth of work, acumen, and public service will meet this moment. I look forward to Senator-designate Butler’s swearing-in this week.”

California Senator Alex Padilla added, “Throughout her career, Laphonza Butler has been a strong voice for working families, LGBTQ rights, and a champion for increasing women’s representation in politics. I’m honored to welcome her to the United States Senate. Governor Newsom’s swift action ensures that Californians maintain full representation in the Senate as we navigate a narrow Democratic Majority. I look forward to working together to deliver for the people of California.”

Former Speaker Pelosi called her, “A lifelong champion for women and girls and working families, Senator-designate Butler will be effective from the start in delivering for the people of California.”

“The NAACP is proud to congratulate Laphonza Butler on her well deserved appointment to serve as the first Black, openly LGBTQ+ Senator. It is only right that a Black woman who has paved the way for countless others to lead is now given an opportunity to lead herself,” said NAACP President & CEO Derrick Johnson.

They added, “We look forward to supporting the future Senator as she makes strides in the halls of Congress. One thing is clear—Black women are supreme.”

SEIU Secretary-Treasurer April Verrett said, “For over 20 years I’ve watched Laphonza Butler up close. I’ve strategized with her. I’ve led with her. I’ve learned from her. She’ll be a great addition to the US Senate. For workers. For women. For Californians. Great choice, Gavin Newsom.”

“Congratulations Laphonza Butler on your historic Senate appointment.  Welcome to the California Delegation! The CLBC looks forward to working with you to improve the lives of all Californians!” added the California Legislative Black Caucus.

NAACP California Hawaii State President Rick L. Callender said, “We congratulate Laphonza Butler on her Senate appointment and look forward to the work she will accomplish as the first LGBTQ+ person to represent California and the only Black woman in the chamber. We commend Gov. Newsom for addressing Senate representation gaps and eagerly support our future Senator in her congressional journey.”

SEIU California Executive Director Tia Orr added, “Today Gavin Newsom again made history by appointing Laphonza Butler to the U.S. Senate. As we mourn the loss of a true trailblazer in Senator Feinstein, the Governor’s appointment of a Black, LGBTQ+ woman is a powerful demonstration of our state’s commitment to equity and representation. HUGE congrats to my sister Laphonza Butler: SEIU members and all working families look forward to seeing you shake things up on Capitol Hill!!”

Stacey Abrams said, “Extraordinarily proud of Laphonza Butler—a stalwart for women, workers, the disadvantaged and those in search of a better life. She understands the contours of power and knows that when shared, it multiplies. She’s the right choice at the right time.”

Martin Luther Kings III said, “As the first Black woman to serve as President of Emily’s List, Laphonza Butler has shown her strength and determination in leading the fight to restore reproductive freedom and elect women to Congress.”

He added, “Representation matters to girls like my daughter who can see themselves in the Senate. It matters to LGBTQ people who are forced to face and fight bigotry every day. It matters to union workers who will now be represented by an SEIU member.”

Kelly Robinson of the Human Rights Campaign stated, “The appointment of Laphonza Butler to the United States Senate is a milestone in the fight for justice and liberation. The first Black lesbian to openly serve in Congress, Laphonza will bring a compelling voice for abortion rights, the labor movement and civil rights to Congress.”

Equality California said, “Laphonza Butler is eminently qualified to represent California well in the United States Senate and we are thrilled to congratulate her. This historic appointment by Governor Newsom will give our LGBTQ+ community another voice in Congress at a time when our rights and freedoms are under attack across the country. We look forward to working with Laphonza as she steps into this new role and continues her lifelong fight for our shared values of equity, freedom, and justice for all.”

Moms Demand Action Executive Director Angela Ferrell-Zabala said: “Laphonza Butler is an incredible leader and a fierce advocate for women and girls. I’m thrilled to watch her make history as the first Black lesbian senator to openly serve in Congress. Moms Demand can’t wait to work with her to continue California’s leadership on gun safety!”


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17 thoughts on “Prominent Black, LGBTQ, and Elected Leaders on Appointment of Laphonza Butler to U.S. Senate”

  1. Walter Shwe

    As we speak conservative bigots and racists such as Charlie Kirk and numerous others from around the nation are disparaging the good name of an outstanding Senator-to-be. In doing so, they out themselves as disgusting individuals. For that matter, yesterday that very phenomena was on full display on this very site.

  2. Keith Olsen

    Great op-ed from the SF Chronicle:

    So focused was Newsom on Butler’s biography — that she would be the first Black lesbian to serve in Congress in American history and the second Black woman to represent California in the Senate — that he appears to have deemed insignificant the significant fact that Butler has lived in Maryland since 2021.
    The Newsom administration reassured reporters Sunday night that Butler, who for years lived in California, still owns a home in the state and will re-register to vote here. However, reporters noticed Sunday night that mentions of Butler living in Maryland had been scrubbed from her online biographies on X (formerly Twitter) and the Emily’s List website.


    Having diverse perspectives, backgrounds and experiences in the halls of power is of course important. Newsom deserves some praise for seeking to elevate the voices of those who traditionally haven’t had a seat in Congress.
    But focusing on demographic characteristics above all else is reductive – and leads to tokenization. Indeed his entire approach to the prospect of Feinstein’s seat opening up has been filled with blunders of his own making.
    In 2021, amid reports about Feinstein’s dwindling health and mental acuity, Newsom vowed to appoint a Black woman to her Senate seat if she were to resign before her term ended in 2024.


    1. David Greenwald

      The funny thing is, if Gavin Newsom were a normal politician, he would have picked the establishment candidate for Senator and let the chips fall where they may. That would have been Adam Schiff. You wouldn’t have been happy. What’s the big deal here? As the Chronicle piece pointed out (which I had read before you posted it), she’s lived in California for years and still owns a home here. So everyone gets to pile on Newsom again and people get to ignore the fact that the person he selected is pretty amazing and not the type of person who would ever have run for Senate let alone win the seat.

      1. Keith Olsen

        That would have been Adam Schiff. You wouldn’t have been happy.

        You’re right on that.  I think Schiff lies more than Biden and Trump put together.

        But can you imagine the uproar if Newsom had vowed to pick a middle aged white man then picked Schiff?

        David, would you have been okay with that?

        1. Keith Olsen

          They are exactly parallel.  You have a politician promising to place someone in a position based on race and gender.  The only difference in my scenario is the race and gender is different than the race and gender that Newsom promised to pick.

          1. David Greenwald

            That’s where we differ.

            As MLK once put it: ” A society that has done something special against the Negro for hundreds of years must now do something special for him, in order to equip him to compete on a just and equal basis.”

  3. Walter Shwe

    The Strange Constitutional Loophole Exposed by Dianne Feinstein’s Replacement

    The Constitution does not have all the answers. And when we pretend it does, we empower unelected judges to make up the answers and attribute them to the infinite wisdom of long-dead Framers. It’s fortunate, then, that the Constitution does empower the Senate—and not the courts—to judge the qualifications of “its own members.” When a would-be senator’s qualifications are contested, the Senate must decide, by a vote, whether to accept them. Even with one vacancy, Democrats hold a small majority in the chamber, and they can overrule any GOP objections to Butler and seat her on Tuesday. By doing so, they will effectively resolve this constitutional quandary in Butler’s favor. The text of the Constitution may not offer a definitive answer here. But the people and their representatives still can.,state%20residency%20requirements%20for%20senators.

      1. Keith Olsen

        There are others running.

        Hopefully a strong conservative will step up.  With crime, homelessness, drug usage out of control, cities in doom loop spirals, progressive prosecutors letting criminals go free or only giving light sentences, no bail policies, etc.  I could go on forever with how Democrats are failing California.

        A good conservative candidate might actually have a shot.

        1. Walter Shwe

          With crime, homelessness, drug usage out of control, cities in doom loop spirals, progressive prosecutors letting criminals go free or only giving light sentences, no bail policies, etc. 

          That’s all state level issues. US Senators have very little to do with any of that. As they say, you are barking up the wrong tree.

      2. Walter Shwe

        My money and vote will go to the able Katie Porter. I love her white boards and how she consistently and correctly assigns responsibility for inflation, pharmaceutical price hikes, oil price gouging, billionaire tax rates and numerous other issues.

  4. Walter Shwe

    Laphonza Butler gets red carpet treatment in Los Angeles
    California’s newest senator will join Gov. Gavin Newsom, George Clooney, Don Cheadle, Eva Longoria, and Kerry Washington for an education event promoting diversity in the entertainment industry.'s%20newest%20senator%20will%20join,diversity%20in%20the%20entertainment%20industry.

    Diversity counts, but Republicans and conservatives certainly don’t. Unlike another commenter, I put this comment in its proper place.

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