Service Announcements

Children’s Defense Fund Board Chair Laphonza Butler to be Appointed to California’s Vacant Senate Seat After Passing of Dianne Feinstein

For Immediate Release
October 2, 2023


John Henry,, CDF Media Relations Manager, @johnhenrydc, 708-646-7679

Washington, DC—On Sunday, California Governor Gavin Newsom selected Laphonza Butler – Chair of Children’s Defense Fund’s Board of Directors – as the state’s next United States senator. Butler, who is also President of EMILYs List, will serve the remainder of former Senator Dianne Feinstein’s term. Feinstein passed away on Friday, September 29, after 31 years in the United States Senate.

Rev. Dr. Starsky Wilson, President and Chief Executive Officer of Children’s Defense Fund, issued the following statement regarding Butler’s appointment:

“We at Children’s Defense Fund express our condolences to the family, friends, and staff of the late California Senator Dianne Feinstein. Feinstein was a trailblazer during her three decades in Washington. The impact she made on our nation will be felt for decades to come.

“While we join the nation in mourning this loss, Children’s Defense Fund is uplifted by the appointment of our Board Chair, Laphonza Butler, to the United States Senate. A stalwart and dedicated Board member for more than 10 years, Laphonza has shown a deep commitment to improving outcomes for America’s children and youth. The Laphonza Butler we have worked closely with in CDF’s governance, is a brilliant strategist, caring parent, and strong advocate who will surely work in young people’s interests on Capitol Hill. This is a win for California’s children and families during this crucial time in the United States Senate and American politics.”



About Children’s Defense Fund

Celebrating 50 years in 2023, Children’s Defense Fund envisions a nation where marginalized children flourish, leaders prioritize their well-being, and communities wield the power to ensure they thrive. The only national, multi-issue advocacy organization working at the intersection of child well-being and racial justice, CDF advances the well-being of America’s most diverse generation, the 74 million children and youth under the age of 18 and 30 million young adults under the age of 25. CDF’s grassroots movements in marginalized communities build power for child-centered public policy, informed by racial equity and the lived experience of children and youth. Its renowned CDF Freedom Schools® program is conducted in nearly 100 cities across 30 states and territories. Learn more at