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Laphonza Butler sworn in as replacement for late Sen. Dianne Feinstein

Written by on October 3, 2023

Laphonza Butler sworn in as replacement for late Sen. Dianne Feinstein
Anna Rose Layden/Getty Images

(WASHINGTON) — Vice President Kamala Harris swore in Sen. Laphonza Butler to serve as California’s senator on Tuesday, replacing the late Sen. Dianne Feinstein.

Butler, whose appointment was announced by California Gov. Gavin Newsom on Sunday, was flanked by Majority Leader Chuck Schumer, who met with Butler on Tuesday just prior to her being sworn in, and California Sen. Alex Padilla as Harris administered the oath on the Senate floor.

After her swearing in, members from both parties stood and gave a round of applause.

Butler shook hands with Republican Leader Mitch McConnell as she exited the chamber.

The new senator did not respond to a question about whether she intends to seek a full Senate term.

“I’m having a great day,” she said to cameras.

Schumer referenced Butler’s history as president of EMILY’S List, a political action committee that works to elect Democrat pro-choice women, in expressing confidence about Butler’s future as a senator.

“She is going to be a great, great senator. I am excited, happy, thrilled that she is here. We know each other through EMILY’s list,” Schumer said.

Upon assuming office, Butler made history as the first openly LGBTQ+ person to represent California in the Senate. She is also only the third Black woman in the chamber, fulfilling a pledge Newsom made to appoint a Black woman to fill Feinstein’s seat. There were no Black women currently serving in the Senate prior to Butler’s swearing in.

Reps. Barbara Lee, Adam Schiff and Katie Porter have been actively fundraising and campaigning for the role.

ABC News’ Nicholas Kerr and Isabella Murray contributed to this report.

Copyright © 2023, ABC Audio. All rights reserved.

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