Senator Dianne Feinstein died on Thursday night at her Washington, DC, home (Credits: AP)
The longest-serving female lawmaker in the US and oldest member of the Senate has died at the age of 90.
Democratic Senator Dianne Feinstein of California died on Thursday night at her home in Washington, DC, her chief of staff James Sauls stated on Friday morning.
‘Her passing is a great loss for so many, form those who loved and cared for her to the people of California that she dedicated her life to serving,’ stated Sauls.
Feinstein was the first female president of the San Francisco Board of Supervisors, the first woman San Francisco mayor and one of the first two California women to be elected to the Senate.
‘There are few women who can be called senator, chairman, mayor, wife, mom and grandmother. Senator Feinstein was a force of nature who made an incredible impact on our country and her home state,’ stated Sauls.
‘She left a legacy that is undeniable and extraordinary.’
Feinstein casted her final vote in the Senate on Thursday morning.
Her cause of death was not immediately confirmed.
Dianne Feinstein was elected to finish out the term of the late San Francisco Mayor George Moscone (Picture: AP)
Dianne Feinstein as the mayor of San Francisco addressed the Democratic National Convention in 1992 (Picture: Shutterstock)
Feinstein was absent from the Senate for two months while being treated for shingles that led to encephalitis, which causes brain swelling. She returned in May using a wheelchair and looking frail.
On August 8, Feinstein was briefly hospitalized after a minor fall in her San Francisco home.
Feinstein faced calls for her resignation amid her declining health, and announced seven months ago that she planned to retire when her term ended in January 2025.
‘You know, there are times for all things under the sun, and I think that will be the right time,’ she said at the time.
Senator Dianne Feinstein called herself a political centrist (Picture: AP)
Senator Dianne Feinstein returned to the Senate Judiciary Committee in May (Picture: AP)
Feinstein’s legislative victories and legacies include authoring the 2022 Respect for Marriage Act which preserved marriage equality at the federal level, passing the California Desert Protection Act safeguarding millions of acres and creating two national parks, and reauthorizing the Violence Against Women Act to protect women from sexual assault and domestic violence.
‘Senator Feinstein never backed away from a fight for what was just and right,’ Sauls stated. ‘At the same time, she was always willing to work with anyone, even those she disagreed with, if it meant bettering the lives of Californians or the betterment of our nation.’
She called herself a centrist, but changed her position on some issues. Feinstein first opposed and then supported same-sex marriage as well as the death penalty. She voted for the War in Iraq and supported Republican President George W Bush’s policies on detaining suspects of terrorism, but later pushed for closing the Guantánamo Bay prison that housed most of them.
Feinstein was born on June 22, 1933, to a Jewish father and a Russian Orthodox mother. She graduated from Stanford University in 1955 and married three times. She had one daughter with her first husband, Katherine.
Senator Dianne Feinstein broke gender barriers in politics over five decades (Picture: AP)
Senator Dianne Feinstein was the oldest serving member of the US Senate at the age of 90 (Picture: Shutterstock)
Senate Majority Leader Chuck Schumer called Feinstein ‘a friend, a hero, a leader who changed the Senate and America for the better’.
‘Mourning this tremendous loss – we’re comforted in knowing how many mountains she moved, lives she impacted, glass ceilings she shattered,’ wrote Schumer on X (formerly Twitter). ‘America’s a better place because of her.’
Sauls stated that ‘there is much to say about who she was and what she did’.
‘But for now,’ he concluded, ‘We are going to grieve the passing of our beloved boss, mentor and friend.’
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