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‘Trailblazer’ Dianne Feinstein, senator for nearly 31 years, dies at 90

White House orders flags at half-mast to honor longtime California legislator • U.S. President Joe Biden calls her “a historic figure.”

Sen. Dianne Feinstein (D-Calif.). Credit: Rob Crandall/Shutterstock.
Sen. Dianne Feinstein (D-Calif.). Credit: Rob Crandall/Shutterstock.

Sen. Dianne Feinstein (D-Calif.), the first Jewish woman in the U.S. Senate who held her seat for nearly 31 years, died on Sept. 28, her office announced.

The former San Francisco mayor was a “trailblazer” who “became the longest-serving woman in the Senate, logging three decades in the upper chamber,” stated the Jewish Federations of North America.

“For American Jews, particularly Jewish women, Feinstein smashed glass ceilings as a powerful politician driven by her Jewish values and championing women’s rights in Washington,” JFNA added.

U.S. President Joe Biden, who ordered flags at half mast in Feinstein’s honor, called her “a historic figure and a great friend” while speaking during a tribute to retiring U.S. Joint Chiefs of Staff Gen. Mark Milley, according to the pool report.

“Dianne made her mark on everything from national security to the environment to protecting civil liberties,” Biden stated. “She’s made history in so many ways, and our country will benefit from her legacy for generations.”

Former San Francisco Mayor Dianne Feinstein, later a U.S. senator from California, speaks at a rally in San Francisco’s Chinatown in the late 1970s. Her future husband, Richard Blum, stands to her left. Photo by Nancy Wong via Wikimedia Commons.

Born in 1933 in San Francisco, Feinstein served three terms as the city’s mayor from 1978 to 1988. She was elected to the U.S. Senate in 1992 and was the oldest member prior to her death.

“Dianne Feinstein was one of the most amazing people to ever grace the Senate. She was smart, strong, brave and compassionate—and she led with great integrity,” stated Senate Majority Leader Chuck Schumer (D-N.Y.). “May her memory be a blessing.”

California Gov. Gavin Newsom, who will appoint Feinstein’s replacement for the duration of her Senate term, has said he plans to name a black woman for the role and someone who is not planning to run for president in 2024.

Feinstein was predeceased by her husband, Richard Blum, who died in February 2022. She is survived by her daughter, Katherine Feinstein; and granddaughter, Eileen Feinstein Mariano.

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