Senator Dianne Feinstein, a Democrat from California and the longest-serving woman in the Senate, has passed away at the age of 90, her office confirmed on Friday. Feinstein, who was Jewish, had a significant career in U.S. politics, spanning over three decades in the Senate.
Feinstein’s chief of staff, James Sauls, released a statement acknowledging her passing, noting her willingness to work across the aisle and her dedication to the betterment of Californians and the nation.
Feinstein had announced her plans to retire at the end of her term earlier this year, following concerns about her health. She had faced calls for her resignation and had missed several votes in late February, leading to speculations about her well-being. Her advanced age also sparked debate in Washington over whether term limits should be implemented for members of Congress.
Throughout her tenure, Feinstein was known for her advocacy on various issues, including gun control. She pushed for the assault weapons ban signed into law in 1994 and continued to advocate for restrictive laws following the ban’s expiration in 2004.
Feinstein’s Jewish faith was a part of her identity, though it was not often a focal point of her public persona. Nonetheless, her presence in the Senate marked a significant representation for the Jewish community in the upper echelons of U.S. politics.
Before her election to the Senate in 1992, Feinstein had a notable career in California politics. She became acting mayor of San Francisco in 1978 following the assassinations of Mayor George Moscone and city Supervisor Harvey Milk and later became the first woman elected mayor of the city.
Feinstein is survived by her daughter, Katherine Feinstein, a San Francisco County Superior Court judge; her son-in-law, Rick Mariano; and her granddaughter, Eileen Feinstein Mariano.