California Senator Dianne Feinstein Dies at 90

AI Generated art of Dianne Feinstein

Sen. Dianne Feinstein, D-Calif., the oldest sitting U.S. senator and the female senator with the longest tenure in Senate history, has died, her office confirmed on Friday. Feinstein was 90 years old.

“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,” her chief of staff, James Sauls, said in a statement.

Feinstein, the senior senator from California, the longest-serving woman senator, and the senior senator from any state declared in February that she would be leaving the Senate after her term, which ends in 2024. Due to concerns about her health, she has received calls for her resignation.

Before her passing, Feinstein had numerous health scares. In May of 2022, it was reported that she was struggling to remember conversations and names of colleagues. 

Earlier this year, more concerns arose about her health. Her infection with Shingles led to severe complications, resulting in encephalitis, an inflammation of the brain, and Ramsay Hunt Syndrome, resulting in paralysis of the left side of her face and balance issues.

More concerns came in May of this year, after returning to Congress, Feinstein asserted that she did not leave Congress or her office despite being absent for the last three months. 

She was a moderate Democrat who was criticized frequently by her party’s liberal members for seeking to work with Republicans. She disagreed with them on a number of points, including her opposition to single-payer, publicly funded healthcare and the ambitious Green New Deal climate change initiative, which she claimed was both politically and financially impractical.

Her ascension in California politics came after the murders of Harvey Milk, the first openly gay public official in California, and Mayor George Moscone on November 27, 1978, Feinstein, who was then the head of the San Francisco Board of Supervisors, took over as acting mayor. Feinstein made the shocking announcement of the assassinations on the steps of City Hall.

Thrice married, Feinstein was predeceased by her husband, investment banker Richard Blumwho died last year. She 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.

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