California Governor Gavin Newsom has tapped Laphonza Butler to fill the Senate seat of Dianne Feinstein after her death last week. Butler is a former labor leader at the Service Employees International Union and current president of EMILY’s List, which helps elect pro-abortion Democratic women to public office. Laphonza Butler would be the first openly gay U.S. senator representing California and fulfills Newsom’s pledge to appoint a Black woman to the post.
But despite her union background, Butler more recently advised Uber as it fought the California law requiring app companies to grant workers employee benefits. Newsom had ruled out naming a current U.S. Senate candidate for the seat, including progressive hopeful Barbara Lee, though Laphonza Butler could decide to join the race as interim senator.