Laphonza Butler has been nominated as the United States Senator for California since 2023. Prior to this role, she served as the president of EMILY’s List from 2021 to 2023 and held the position of regent at the University of California from 2018 to 2021.
Full name- Laphonza Romanique Butler
Partner- Neneki Lee
Previous Role-President of SEIU Local 2015
Current Position-President of EMILY’S List
Butler, the youngest of three siblings, was born in Magnolia, Mississippi. Although her parents’ names remain undisclosed, her father passed away from heart disease when she was 16 years old.
Butler is openly lesbian, and she shares her life with her partner, Neneki Lee, with whom she has a daughter. Neneki Lee holds the position of National Division Director for Public Services at SEIU.
She went to South Pike High School in Magnolia and later attended Jackson State University.
Butler embarked on her career as a union organizer, advocating for various worker groups like nurses in Baltimore and Milwaukee, janitors in Philadelphia, and hospital staff in New Haven, Connecticut. After relocating to California in 2009, she championed the cause of in-home caregivers and nurses, eventually becoming the president of SEIU United Long Term Care Workers, SEIU Local 2015.
In 2013, she was elected president of the California SEIU State Council, where she spearheaded initiatives to increase California’s minimum wage and impose higher income taxes on the state’s wealthiest individuals. Serving as president of SEIU Local 2015, Butler endorsed Hillary Clinton during the 2016 Democratic presidential primary and was one of California’s electors who cast their votes for Clinton in the 2016 election.
In 2018, California Governor Jerry Brown appointed Butler as a regent of the University of California, where she served until her resignation in 2021. Butler is recognized for her philanthropic work and involvement with organizations like Vision to Learn, a non-profit founded by Austin Beutner, providing reading glasses to children in underserved communities.
In 2018, Butler became a partner at SCRB Strategies, a California-based political consulting firm, playing a pivotal role in Kamala Harris’s 2020 presidential campaign. She had a long-standing political alliance with Harris, dating back to Harris’s 2010 run for California Attorney General, where she helped negotiate a shared SEIU endorsement for Harris. Additionally, Butler provided advisory services to Uber on labor-related matters during her tenure at SCRB.
In 2020, Butler transitioned to Airbnb, assuming the role of director of public policy and campaigns in North America. Her impactful journey led her to become the third president of EMILY’s List in 2021, marking her as the first black woman and mother to lead the organization.
Net Worth 2023
Laphonza Butler, whose net worth stands at a remarkable $16 million.
Laphonza Butler Appointed to Senate Seat by California Governor
People from different places in the country are happy about Governor Gavin Newsom choosing Laphonza Butler to join the United States Senate. Tomorrow, Vice President Kamala Harris will officially make her a senator at the U.S. Capitol.
On October 1, 2023, Governor Gavin Newsom of California revealed his selection of Butler to occupy the U.S. Senate seat left empty after Dianne Feinstein’s passing.
Butler has worked for a long time as a leader for labor rights and has supported women and workers. She’s also the first openly LGBTQ person to represent California in the Senate. Plus, she’s the first Black lesbian to openly serve in Congress in the whole history of the United States. And she’s the second Black woman from California to be 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.”