Dianne Feinstein, the longest-serving female US senator in history, has passed away at the age of 90 after a period of declining health, according to a statement from her office. Feinstein, a Democrat, died at her home in Washington. Her death gives California Governor Gavin Newsom the power to appoint a lawmaker to complete the remainder of her term, ensuring the Democratic majority in the Senate until early 2025. Newsom has previously stated that he would appoint a Black woman to the position.
Feinstein was a prominent figure in California politics for decades and became a national face of the Democratic Party after her election to the US Senate in 1992. Throughout her career, she broke various glass ceilings and played a significant role in some of Capitol Hill’s most critical legislative efforts, including the 1994 federal assault weapons ban and the 2014 CIA torture report. She was also a long-standing member of the Senate Intelligence and Judiciary committees.
In her later years, concerns about Feinstein’s health and mental acuity arose, leading to speculation about her retirement. She faced questions about her ability to lead and serve effectively, given her age and health issues, including a hospitalization for shingles in February. Feinstein confirmed in February that she would not seek reelection in 2024.
Feinstein’s legacy was celebrated by her colleagues, with House Speaker Nancy Pelosi calling her a “champion for the Golden State,” and Senate Majority Leader Chuck Schumer saying that “America is a better place because of Sen. Dianne Feinstein.”
Dianne Feinstein, a San Francisco native, made history throughout her political career, becoming the first woman to chair the San Francisco Board of Supervisors and breaking numerous records in the US Senate, such as being the first woman to sit on the Senate Judiciary Committee and the first female chair of the Senate Intelligence Committee. She was a prominent figure in California politics and left a lasting impact on the nation.
Feinstein’s influence extended to key legislative efforts, including gun control and investigations into the CIA’s torture program. She was portrayed by actress Annette Bening in the 2019 film “The Report,” which examined the CIA’s use of torture after the 9/11 attacks.
Feinstein’s death marks the end of an era in American politics, with her contributions and accomplishments remembered fondly by colleagues and constituents alike.