Senator Laphonza Butler is a trailblazer fighting for the American worker, the fundamental freedoms of all people, and the future that our next generations deserve.
She was sworn in as the Democratic junior U.S. Senator from the State of California on October 3rd, 2023. Senator Butler is the first former labor leader to serve in the U.S. Senate in nearly 60 years. She is also the first openly LGBTQ black female U.S. Senator in
Senator Butler was raised in the town of Magnolia, Mississippi to working class parents who believed their most important responsibilities were family
and service to others. Though her father died while she was just a teenager, her parents showed Laphonza and her two brothers that hard work and education would be their strongest tools to break out of poverty. As her mom became the family’s primary wage earner, she found herself working multiple jobs, often all in the same day, to make sure her children had the opportunity for better choices and chances. From caregiver to CNA, from classroom assistant to security guard, Sarah showed her children that no matter the job you have, you must “work hard, do your best, and never give up.”
Senator Butler is a proud graduate of the historic HBCU, Jackson State University.
Senator Butler has spent her career championing fairness and justice. She took her mother’s guidance and forged a path focused on doing everything she could to support the empowerment of working families and the men, women and young people who often felt powerless to make change.
For nearly two decades she was an organizer and leader in the labor movement. At just 30 years old Senator Butler was elected President of California’s largest homecare and nursing home workers union SEIU local 2015. She helped to orchestrate raising California’s minimum wage to $15 an hour and secure paid sick days for the state’s home care workers.
As President she united the power of home care workers statewide, growing the union’s membership to more than 325,000 and making SEIU 2015 the largest homecare worker union in America. As President of the SEIU CA State Council, Butler is known to also be a coalition builder–working on issues beyond the workplace to make California more fair and just. From working to expand retirement security by passing CA Secure Choice Retirement Savings program to efforts to improve health outcomes by passing legislation to protect children from cigarette marketing, Butler has been able to work across traditional lines of difference in order to make progress on issues that matter.
Prior to her appointment to the Senate, Senator Butler was president of EMILYs list, which is dedicated to electing Democratic pro-choice women. During her tenure, EMILYs list recruited and supported over 600 women to run for elected office. Prior to leading EMILYs list, Senator Butler served as a strategist to organizations, companies and candidates including playing a key role in Holly Mitchell’s campaign for LA Supervisor.
As YOUR Senator
As Senator, Laphonza Butler is determined to lead with the same advice that her mother gave her so many years ago. She will work hard, do her best, and never give up on a vision for fairness and justice.
Today, only 16% of Californians can afford to buy a home and California has the largest homeless population of any state because the country’s economy isn’t working for everyone. As a member of the Senate Committee on Banking, Housing and Urban Affairs, Senator Butler will work to provide comprehensive aid for the unhoused and help create more affordable housing, economic prosperity and jobs for all. Since the reversal of Roe v. Wade, 25 million women lost their right to make their own healthcare decisions including abortion and over 15 states enacted laws restricting the right of people to vote. As a member of the Senate Judiciary Committee, she advocates for equal rights, including reproductive rights for women and all people who can have children. She pushes for broader national voting rights and greater voter access.
As your Senator, Laphonza Butler’s priorities are fighting for the American worker, the fundamental freedoms of all people, and the future that our next generations deserve. She champions a labor movement that unites all workers. She stands with the majority of Californians to achieve common sense gun reform laws in our country. She strongly opposes state sponsored discrimination and advocates for a national law prohibiting book bans. She is committed to protecting the planet and California’s environment for future generations.
Senator Butler has served on the boards of the University of California and the Children’s Defense Fund. Senator Butler is 44 years old and is a devoted mother to her daughter Nylah with her wife Neneki Lee.