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Dianne Feinstein death - latest: Tributes pour in for California senator

For over 30 years, Feinstein served in Senate representing the state of California

Ariana Baio
Saturday 30 September 2023 14:28 BST
Gavin Newsom will only appoint ‘interim’ Feinstein replacement if necessary

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Dianne Feinstein, the California Senator who served in Congress for over three decades, died on Thursday evening at 90 years old, her office confirmed in a statement.

First elected to the US Senate in 1992, Feinstein was a trailblazer for women becoming the first woman mayor of San Francisco and then going on to be one of the first women to represent California in Congress.

Feinstein was the longest-serving woman in the Senate.

Celebrities, politicians and more paid tribute to Feinstein on social media following news of her passing.

Former Speaker of the House and California rep Nancy Pelosi fondly reflected on Feinstein’s life in a statement, saying they were “not only colleagues, but neighbours and friends.”

“Her indomitable, indefatigable leadership made a magnificent difference for our national security and personal safety, the health of our people and our planet, and the strength of our Democracy,” Ms Pelosi said.

Hillary Clinton said Feinstein “blazed trails for women in politics and found a life’s calling in public service.”

In recent years, Feinstein’s health had deteriorated leading to some questions about her ability to serve in government, however, she refused to step down.


Dianne Feinstein dies at 90

Longtime Democratic Senator Dianne Feinstein has died at the age of 90, according to multiple sources.

Her death comes after a series of health setbacks this year, including an extended time out of the Senate following a hospitalisation for shingles.

She returned to Congress several months later, looking frail as she was pushed into the chambers in a wheelchair to cast her votes.

Rachel Sharp reports:

Pioneering Democratic Senator Dianne Feinstein dies aged 90

Feinstein was a pioneer for women in Washington with a long and storied career in American politics, breaking down barriers and becoming the first in many areas

Ariana Baio29 September 2023 14:08

Josh Hawley remembers Dianne Feinstein

Senator Josh Hawley from Missouri paid tribute to the late Senator Dianne Feinstein on X, formerly known as Twitter.

Mr Hawley, a fellow Democrat, said he was “saddened to hear of the death” of Ms Feinstein and called it “an honor” to serve with her in the Senate.

“No one was more welcoming when I came to the Senate than she, and no one was a better example,” Mr Hawley wrote.

“She was tough, incredibly smart, and effective. Always willing to work across the aisle to get things done, she was a person of unquestioned integrity,” Mr Hawley said.

Ms Feinstein was first elected into office in 1992. She worked in the US Senate for 31 years.

He added: “I admired her and will miss her in the Senate. Eric and I send our deepest condolences to her family.”

Ariana Baio29 September 2023 14:16

How does Dianne Feinstein get replaced?

Now that Senator Dianne Feinstein has died, California has an open Senate seat – so how will the empty seat be replaced and who will take over?

Earlier this year, California Governor Gavin Newsom said he would only appoint an “interim” replacement for Ms Feinstein if she stepped down from office before finishing her term.

The governor likely will not appoint any of them, including current US Rep Barbara Lee, widely speculated as Mr Newsom’s choice to fill a potential vacancy after he had indicated that he would appoint a Black woman to the seat.

Fellow Democratic US Reps Adam Schiff and Katie Porter are also lining up for the seat.

Mr Newsom told NBC’s Meet the Press on 10 September that he doesn’t want to get involved with the primary race.

“Interim appointment,” he said. “It would be completely unfair to the Democrats that have worked their tail off. That primary is just a matter of months away. I don’t want to tip the balance of that.”

Ariana Baio29 September 2023 14:29

Hillary Clinton pays tribute to Dianne Feinstein

Hillary Clinton said she was “deeply saddened” by the passing of Dianne Feinstein on X/Twitter on Friday, shortly after Ms Feinstein’s death was announced.

“She blazed trails for women in politics and found a life’s calling in public service,” Ms Clinton wrote.

While other politicians had called for Ms Feinstein to resign this past year because she experienced health issues, Ms Clinton did the opposite.

In May the former Secretary of State said in an interview that Ms Feinstein’s seat and her place on the Senate Judiciary Committee was too valuable for her to just resign.

Over the course of both women’s political careers, their paths crossed.

“I’ll miss her greatly as a friend and colleague and send my condolences to all who loved her,” Ms Clinton said.

Ariana Baio29 September 2023 14:51

Dianne Feinstein’s office releases statement

The official office of Senator Dianne Feinstein released a statement on her death Friday morning, paying tribute to her long career in politics.

“Sadly, Senator Feinstein passed away last night at her home in Washington, DC. 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,” her office said.

“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 who she disagreed with, if it meant bettering the lives of Californians or the betterment of our nation.”

“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.”

“She left a legacy that is undeniable and extraordinary. There is much to say about who she was and what she did, but for now, we are going to grieve the passing of our beloved boss, mention and friend.”

Ariana Baio29 September 2023 15:05

Nancy Pelosi makes statement on Feinstein death

Nancy Pelosi, the former Speaker of the House, released a statement on the death of Senator Dianne Feinstein.

“Paul, my daughter Nancy Corinne and I were heartbroken to learn of the passing of our dear friend Dianne Feinstein,” Ms Pelosi said in a statement.

“Her indomitable, indefatigable leadership made a magnificent difference for our national security and personal safety, the health of our people and our planet, and the strength of our Democracy.”

Ms Pelosi also represents California in Congress. The two women worked closely throughout their careers, both being trailblazers for women with long-serving careers.

“Dianne was a pioneering woman leader, who served as San Francisco’s first female Mayor with unmatched courage, poise and grace. Standing strong amid horror and heartbreak – from the brutal murders of Harvey Milk and George Moscone to the deadly HIV/AIDs epidemic – she offered our City a beacon of strength and hope,” Ms Pelosi said.

The former Speaker of the House called Ms Feinstein a champion for “the Golden State” and “gender justice.” She highlighted Ms Feinstein’s work to pass the Federal Assault Weapons Ban, the Violence Against Women Act and more.

“Personally, it was a great honor to serve alongside Dianne for decades – from the hilly streets of San Francisco to the hallowed halls of Congress. We were not only colleagues, but neighbors and friends. My daughter, Nancy Corinne, has long been an admirer and devoted friend of Senator Feinstein, and we were all close friends with her and her late husband, Richard.“Dianne’s extraordinary career will continue to inspire countless young women and girls to pursue public service for generations to come. May it be a comfort to her daughter Katherine and her husband Rick, her granddaughter Eileen, and the entire Feinstein family that all Americans joins them in mourning at this sad time.”

Ariana Baio29 September 2023 15:07

Gavin Newsom remembers Dianne Feinstein: ‘broke down barriers and glass ceilings'

California governor Gavin Newsom dedicated a lengthy post on X/Twitter to Senator Dianne Feinstein following her death.

“She was a political giant, whose tenacity was matched by her grace. She broke down barriers and glass ceilings, but never lost her belief in the spirit of political cooperation. And she was a fighter — for the city, the state and the country she loved. Every race she won, she made history, but her story wasn’t just about being the first woman in a particular political office, it was what she did for California, and for America, with that power once she earned it,” Mr Newsome wrote.

“That’s what she should be remembered for. There is simply nobody who possessed the strength, gravitas, and fierceness of Dianne Feinstein. Jennifer and I are deeply saddened by her passing, and we will mourn with her family in this difficult time.”

Ariana Baio29 September 2023 15:15

Tributes to Dianne Feinstein pour in after death

Tributes to Dianne Feinstein, the longest-ever running female senator in US history, poured in after the 90-year-old died on Thursday night.

Feinstein passed away after a series of health battles — and a three-decade-long career in the Senate. Members of Congress on both sides of the aisle commended the California Democrat’s legacy and life-long commitment to public service.

“She was one of the most powerful voices in the Senate, and she blazed a trail for generations of women who followed her into elected office,” Sen Kirsten Gillibrand wrote.

Chris Murphy, a Democratic Senator from Connecticut, also commented on her commitment to stopping gun violence: “From 1994, when she passed the Assault Weapons Ban as a first term Senator, until the tragedy in Newtown, Dianne Feinstein was a lonely voice fighting against gun violence. The modern anti-gun violence movement, now stronger than the gun lobby, would not exist but for Dianne.”

Kelly Rissman reports:

Dianne Feinstein passes away at 90: ‘A political pioneer’

‘She was one of the most powerful voices in the Senate, and she blazed a trail for generations of women who followed her into elected office,’ Sen Kirsten Gillibrand wrote

Ariana Baio29 September 2023 15:30

President Joe Biden calls Dianne Feinstein ‘powerful voice for American values'

In a statement released on Friday, President Joe Biden extended his condolences to Dianne Feinstein and her family following her death and reflected on her legacy in Congress.

“Senator Dianne Feinstein was a pioneering American. A true trailblazer. And for Jill and me, a cherished friend,” Mr Biden said.

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 Feinsteinparticipates in a reenacted swearing-in with her husband Richard C. Blum and Vice President Joe Biden in the Old Senate Chamber on 3 January 2013
Dianne Feinsteinparticipates in a reenacted swearing-in with her husband Richard C. Blum and Vice President Joe Biden in the Old Senate Chamber on 3 January 2013 (Getty Images)

“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.

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.

As we mourn with her daughter Katherine and the Feinstein family, her team in the Senate, and the people of California, we take comfort that Dianne is reunited again with her beloved Richard. May God Bless Dianne Feinstein.”

Ariana Baio29 September 2023 15:35

Kevin McCarthy remembers Dianne Feinstein

Speaker of the House Kevin McCarthy opened up a news conference on Friday by paying tribute to the late Senator Dianne Feinstein.

“Moments ago, the flags at the Capitol were lowered in memory of Dianne Feinstein. As a long-standing senator, she broke barriers and blazed trails for women,” Mr McCarthy said.

Mr McCarthy, a representative of California worked alongside Ms Feinstein, who represented California in the Senate, since he assumed office in 2007.

He reflected on working alongside Ms Feinstein on the California Water Infrastructure Improvements for the Nation (WIIN) Act, which he called a historic act.

“I remember the hours and nights that we’d have to work to try to work through the challenges. We come from different parties and we put the states first.”

Mr McCarthy added that Ms Feinstein inspired women from both sides of the aisle with her legacy.

Ariana Baio29 September 2023 15:45

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