Laphonza Butler is the president of EMILY’s List. As a leader in Democratic politics, campaign strategy, and the labor movement for two decades, she has dedicated her life to empowering women and supporting them in finding their voice, and using it to make meaningful change.
Prior to joining EMILY’s List, Butler served as Director of Public Policy and Campaigns in North America for Airbnb. She also was a partner at SCRB Strategies, a political consulting firm where she was a strategist for candidates running up and down the ballot and a senior advisor to Vice President Kamala Harris’s presidential campaign.
Butler spent 10 years as the president of the biggest union in California, and the nation’s largest homecare workers union, SEIU Local 2015. She was elected to this position at just 30 years old, one of the youngest to take on this role. As president, Butler was the leading voice, strategist, and architect of efforts to address pay inequity for women in California and a top advocate for raising the state’s minimum wage to $15 an hour – the first state in the nation to do so, benefiting millions of working women in low wage jobs. That effort also gave hundreds of thousands of home workers access to paid time off.
Previously, Butler served for seven years as President of SEIU United Long Term Care Workers (ULTCW), and also as SEIU’s Property Services Division Director in which she was responsible for the strategic direction of the more than 250,000 janitors, security officers, window cleaners, and food service workers across the country. She also served as an SEIU International Vice President and President of the SEIU California State Council.
Throughout her career, Butler is highly regarded as a strategist working to elect Democratic women candidates in political offices across California and nationally. A long-time supporter of Kamala Harris in her California runs, Butler was a key leader in Vice President Harris’s presidential campaign. She served as a senior advisor to Hillary Clinton’s presidential campaign in California during the primary and general elections. Most recently, Butler was a campaign operative behind the campaign to make the Los Angeles Board of Supervisors an all-women for the first time in its history with the election of Holly Mitchell.
She is a member of the University of California Board of Regents and a board member for the Children’s Defense Fund and BLACK PAC.
Butler grew up in Magnolia, MS, and attended one of the country’s premier HBCUs, Jackson State University. She lives in Maryland with her partner Neneki Lee and their daughter Nylah.