Laphonza Butler is a politician from the United States and a former union organizer who has been representing California as a junior senator since 2023. Gavin Newsom appointed her to fill Dianne Feinstein’s seat, which became vacant after her passing.
She is the second Black woman to represent California in the upper chamber after Vice President Kamala Harris, and the first Black lesbian to hold office in the Senate.
Who is Laphonza Butler?
Butler, the third of three kids, entered the world on May 11, 1979, in Magnolia, Mississippi. When Butler was 16 years old, her father passed away from heart illness. In 1997, she was South Pike High School’s valedictorian. Butler graduated from Jackson State University with a degree in political science in 2001.
Butler began her career as a union organizer and served as president of the California SEIU State Council from 2013 to 2018. She was a Democrat regent for the University of California from 2018 to 2021 and president of EMILY’s List from 2021 to 2023.
After Dianne Feinstein passed away suddenly on October 1, 2023, California Governor Gavin Newsom appointed a replacement to fill her Senate seat. She was the first minority senator to come out as LGBT.
How Much is Laphonza Butler Net Worth in 2023?
according to various sources, Butler’s net worth is estimated to be around $2 million as of 2023. This includes her income from her political and consulting roles, as well as her assets and investments. Butler’s annual salary as a senator is $174,000.
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Laphonza Butler Career
Butler first worked as a union organizer for hospital workers in New Haven, Connecticut, Baltimore, Maryland, and Milwaukee, Wisconsin. She went to California in 2009 to lead the SEIU United Long Term Care Workers, SEIU Local 2015, an organization for home health aides and nurses.
To lead the California SEIU State Council, Butler was chosen president in 2013. She worked to increase the minimum wage in California and increase income taxes for the state’s wealthiest residents. When it came to the Democratic primaries for president in 2016, Butler, as head of SEIU Local 2015, backed Hillary Clinton.
Butler was a Clinton supporter among California’s electors in 2016. Butler has been a regent at the University of California since 2018 when he was appointed to the position by Governor Jerry Brown for a 12-year term. In 2021, she stepped down from her position as regent.
Butler became a partner at the California political consulting firm SCRB Strategies in 2018. She was a key member of Kamala Harris’s presidential campaign team at SCRB in 2020.
One of the most prevalent political tales of our day, according to Laphonza Butler, describes how Democrats from the Obama administration—particularly, but regrettably, individuals of color—went to work for AirBnB and Uber and then used their influence to undermine laws protecting employees and tenants:
Re Laphonza Butler: One of the most common political stories of our time is how Obama-era Democrats—sadly but especially people of color—went to work at AirBnB and Uber, using their political capital to bust govt protections for workers and renters https://t.co/579IY32GfK
— Steven W. Thrasher, PhD, CPT (@thrasherxy) October 2, 2023
She has been a political ally of Harris’s since the latter’s first run for California Attorney General in 2010 when she helped Harris negotiate a shared SEIU endorsement in the race.
Butler advised Uber in its dealings with organized labour while at SCRB, coinciding with a time when Uber was attempting to avoid having its drivers classified as employees by state legislation.
The New York Times reported that Butler “advised Uber on how to deal with unions like the Teamsters and S.E.I.U., and sat in on several face-to-face meetings between the gig companies and union representatives”.
Butler became the president of EMILY’s List, the nation’s largest resource for women in politics, in 2021. She was the first Black woman to lead the national PAC, which supports pro-choice Democratic women in politics.
In accepting the Senate seat, Butler stepped down from her position at EMILY’s List. Butler is also the director for public policy and campaigns at Airbnb since 2020, according to her LinkedIn profile.
What is Butler’s Personal Life Like?
Butler and her wife, Neneki Lee, are proud parents of a girl, and they identify as lesbians. They sold their home in View Park, California, in Los Angeles County, and bought a new one in Silver Spring, Maryland, in 2021 when she became president of EMILY’s List. She formally changed her voting domicile to California and re-registered to vote there in October 2023, shortly after Newsom appointed her to the Senate.