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Sen Dianne Feinstein dies at age 90


Trailblazer in California politics

Sen. Dianne Feinstein, who was elected to the U.S. Senate in 1992, has died at her home in Washington, D.C., her chief of staff confirmed today. She was 90.

Feinstein was the senior senator from California and one of the first two women elected to the U.S. Senate from California.

“Dianne Feinstein, right from the start, was an icon for women in politics,'' former House Speaker Nancy Pelosi told ABC News.

Feinstein was the first woman mayor of San Francisco and the first woman president of the San Francisco Board of Supervisors.

She was born in San Francisco on June 22, 1933, and graduated from Stanford University in 1955.

She was elected to the U.S. Senate for the first time in 1992, joining Barbara Boxer.

“Sadly, Senator Feinstein passed away last night at her home in Washington, D.C. Her passing is a great loss for so many, from those who loved and cared for her to the people of California that she dedicated her life to serving,'' James Sauls, chief of staff to Feinstein, said in a statement.

“Senator Feinstein never backed away from a fight for what was just and right. 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.''

President Joe Biden said in a joint statement with first lady Jill Biden that Feinstein was a pioneering American. “A true trailblazer. And for Jill and me, a cherished friend.

“In San Francisco, she showed enormous poise and courage in the wake of tragedy, and became a powerful voice for American values. Serving in the Senate together for more than 15 years, I had a front row seat to what Dianne was able to accomplish. It's why I recruited her to serve on the Judiciary Committee when I was Chairman–I knew what she was made of, and I wanted her on our team. There's no better example of her skillful legislating and sheer force of will than when she turned passion into purpose, and led the fight to ban assault weapons. Dianne made her mark on everything from national security to the environment to protecting civil liberties. She's made history in so many ways, and our country will benefit from her legacy for generations,'' Biden said.

“Often the only woman in the room, Dianne was a role model for so many Americans -- a job she took seriously by mentoring countless public servants, many of whom now serve in my administration. She had an immense impact on younger female leaders for whom she generously opened doors. Dianne was tough, sharp, always prepared, and never pulled a punch, but she was also a kind and loyal friend, and that's what Jill and I will miss the most.''

U.S. Congressman Ted Lieu (36th District) posted on social media that “California and the country lost a barrier-breaker and an icon.''

“Through grit, grace and incredible intelligence, she succeeded in politics at a time when few women could. She paved the way for a historic number of women to have a seat at the table and a voice in Congress,'' Lieu, a Democrat who represents the 36th District in Congress, posted on social media.

U.S. Congressman Adam Schiff (30th District) said Feinstein's legacy is unmatched.

“Today, the nation has truly lost a giant of the U.S. Senate, California has lost its trail-blazing leader, and I lost a real friend and mentor. Senator Dianne Feinstein was one of the finest legislators we have ever seen, and her accomplishments made our country and world a better place,'' Schiff, a Democrat who represents the 28th District in Congress, said in a statement.

Los Angeles Mayor Karen Bass said in a statement she was saddened by the passing of Feinstein and called her one of the nation's great leaders.

“Senator Feinstein was a trailblazer on whose shoulders I, and women in elected office all across America, will always stand. She worked harder than anyone I knew on Capitol Hill, and she will be remembered as one of the most effective and impactful Senators in American history,'' Bass said.