U.S. Senator dies at 90

On September 29, 2023, in Congressional News, by David Elrod

U.S. Senator Dianne Feinstein (D-CA) has died at 90, according to numerous media reports.

Feinstein, the oldest sitting U.S. Senator, was the longest serving Senator in California’s history. First elected to the Senate in 1993, she has served in numerous capacities, including chair of the Senate Rules Committee from 2007 to 2009, chair of the Senate Intelligence Committee from 2009 to 2015, and vice chair of that committee from 2015 to 2017. Feinstein was the first woman to chair the Rules Committee as well as the Intelligence Committee. Feinstein also served as ranking member of the Senate Judiciary Committee from 2017 to 2021.

A graduate of Stanford University in 1955, Feinstein entered politics upon her election to the San Francisco Board of Supervisors in 1969. She then served as the board’s first female president in 1978 just prior to her election as the 38th Mayor of San Francisco. Feinstein served as mayor for 10 years, choosing to run for Governor of California in the 1990 election. While Feinstein lost that election, she was elected to the U.S. Senate shortly thereafter.

Feinstein’s Senate tenure represented the longest tenure for a female Senator in U.S. history as well as ascension as the most senior Democrat member of the Senate.

Feinstein cast her last vote in the Senate on Wednesday. She had already announced her plans to retire at the end of her current term in 2024.

Her death now leaves vacant a Senate seat in California. Governor Gavin Newsom will now be required to appoint a temporary successor to fulfill the remainder of Feinstein’s term before a general election can take place next year for a full six-year term.