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Kamala Harris' advisor succeeds late Feinstein

Only black person in the US Senate
Kamala Harris' advisor succeeds late Feinstein

The death of legendary Democratic US Senator Feinstein leaves an empty seat in the Senate, where Democrats hold a slim majority. Your successor has big shoes to fill. It's a remarkable new line-up.

After the death of US Senator Dianne Feinstein, California Governor Gavin Newsom has appointed women's rights activist and labor leader Laphonza Butler as her successor in the Senate. “I am proud to announce California's new US Senator – Laphonza Butler,” Newsom wrote on the online service X, formerly Twitter. The governor praised Butler's hard work for the rights of “women and girls” and workers.

Butler will initially serve in the Senate until the end of Feinstein's term, which ends in 2024. The women's rights activist has been active in California politics for over 15 years.

With the election of Butler, who is expected to be sworn in on Wednesday, Democrat Newsom is keeping his promise to nominate a black woman for the Senate, according to the New York Times. CNN also emphasizes that Butler will be the only black senator in Congress and only the third in US history.

Butler has always “stood up for what is right and led with her heart and values,” said Governor Newsom. He has no doubt that she will “carry Senator Feinstein's baton, continue to break glass ceilings and fight for all Californians in Washington.” According to Newsom, Butler is the first openly lesbian black woman in the U.S. Senate.

The black Democrat Butler was previously an advisor to now-Vice President Kamala Harris in the 2020 presidential campaign. Previously, among other things, she was chairwoman of SEIU Local 2015, the largest US union for home care workers. In 2021, she became the first Black woman to lead EMILY's List, a fundraising center dedicated to electing female candidates and reproductive rights supporters and supporting abortion rights-supporting Democratic candidates for political office.

Feinstein died last Thursday in Washington. She was the oldest senator in the congressional chamber. During her long political career, she held numerous high-ranking positions and, as a woman, was often a pioneer. From 1978 to 1988 she was the first female mayor of San Francisco, and in 1992 she was the first woman elected to the Senate for the state of California.

President Joe Biden's Democrats have a majority in the Senate. However, it is quite tight at 51 to 49 seats, so there is likely to be interest in quickly filling the vacant seat.

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