Laphonza Butler Makes History as Third Black Woman Ever to Serve in U.S. Senate


by Veracity Savant

October 3, 2023

Laphonza Butler has officially been sworn in by Vice President Kamala Harris after her history-making appointment to the U.S. Senate.

Vice President Kamala Harris, the second Black woman to ever serve as a U.S. Senator, officiated the swearing in of Laphonza Butler on October 3. Butler is now making history as the third Black woman to ever serve in the U.S. Senate, NBC News reports. 

Butler, former president of the political action committee EMILY’s List, was selected by California Governor Gavin Newsom to replace the late Sen. Dianne Feinstein in the Senate. As head of EMILY’s List, Butler helped focus on electing Democratic women who are pro-choice, previously making history as the first Black woman to lead the organization.

As a U.S. Senator, Butler follows in the footsteps of VP Harris and Senator Carol Moseley Braun who made history in the 1990s as the first Black woman U.S. Senator. Butler will also be the first openly LGBTQIA+ person to represent California in the Senate. 


“I am honored to accept Gov. Newsom’s nomination to be a U.S. Senator for a state I have long called home. I am humbled by the Governor’s trust. Sen. Dianne Feinstein’s leadership and legacy are immeasurable. I will do my best to honor her by devoting my time and energy to serving the people of California and the people of this great nation,” Butler said. 

Butler’s appointment gives the Democrats a 51-49 majority. Currently residing in Maryland, Butler has already re-registered to vote in California. She will serve out the remainder of Feinstein’s term until early 2025 and is free to run for the Senate seat when her current term is up. Butler will represent California in the Senate alongside Democrat Sen. Alex Padilla.


The new California senator was all smiles as Vice President Harris, a longtime adviser and ally, swore her in. Afterwards, the chamber erupted in applause. 

Congratulations Senator Butler!

Photo by University of California


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