EMILY’s List on Monday selected Laphonza Butler as its new leader, marking the first time a mother and woman of color has run the pro-choice PAC that helps finance Democratic candidates.
Ms. Butler’s selection comes as EMILY’s List finds abortion protections facing new tests at the ballot box, in courts and in states across the country.
Before taking the helm of EMILY’s List, Ms. Butler worked as a political consultant at SCRB Strategies and as a senior leader on Vice President Kamala Harris’ 2020 presidential campaign, followed by a stint as the head of rental service company AirBNB’s public policy group in North America.
“As the first woman of color and first mother in this role, I am proud to bring my lived experiences along with my organizing and political experiences to the job,” Ms. Butler said in a statement. “Every day, I am driven by my mother’s example and my daughter’s future. I look forward to working with the organization’s talented and dedicated staff and partners to write EMILY’s List’s next chapter.”
EMILY’s List is the self-described “largest resource for women in politics” and touts having raised more than $700 million to elect Democrats since its founding in 1985.
It has taken credit for helping flip seven state chambers to Democrats during the 2018 cycle, flipping the Virginia General Assembly since 2019 and helping Democrats take over the House in 2018 and the Senate in 2020.
For next year’s midterm elections, EMILY’s List has identified top Republican targets “on notice” — three senators, 27 representatives and nine governors, according to its website.
EMILY’s List said Ms. Butler brings a “demonstrated record of winning” dating back to when she was elected to lead the Service Employees International Union Local 2015 in California at age 30.
Ms. Butler’s arrival also occurs amid a generational shift in leadership within the pro-choice advocacy community. Ms. Butler is replacing Stephanie Schriock, who led the organization for 11 years.
Earlier this year, Ilyse Hogue announced her departure as president from NARAL Pro-Choice America after eight years. Ms. Hogue was replaced by NARAL Pro-Choice America acting president Adrienne Kimmell.