Dianne Feinstein, the state’s first female senator passed away on September 29, at her home in Washington D.C. She was the oldest sitting senator in the country and was battling multiple health issues since 2018.
After starting her career in San Francisco’s local politics, she served as the city’s Mayor from 1978 to 1988 before assuming office as California’s first female senator in 1992, setting a precedent for other Californian senators like Vice President Kamala Harris.
Harris’ office released a statement recognizing Feinstein as a courageous leader who broke many barriers for women in politics. “From her work to help pass the Assault Weapons Ban in 1994, to her work to safeguard California’s public lands, and her longstanding advocacy for reproductive rights, marriage equality, and LGBTQ+ rights, Senator Feinstein helped build a better America,” the statement read.
In February this year, Feinstein announced that she intended to serve out her ongoing term but would not run for reelection in 2024. She was absent from Senate proceedings from March to May while she received medical care in San Francisco. Her absence prompted Members of Congress including fellow Californian Ro Khanna to call for her resignation as they believed her health was hindering her from fulfilling her duties.
Khanna tweeted earlier today, offering condolences to Feinstein’s family and celebrating her legacy as “a key player in passing landmark bills on gun reform, LGBTQ+ rights, and combating deadly wildfires and droughts in California”.
San Jose District 10 Councilmember Arjun Batra also praised Feinstein’s commitment to public service. “Her legislative journey, punctuated by major accomplishments in critical domains such as gun control and environmental protection, reflects the deep impact she has had on the state and the nation at large,” he said.