US media sites announced that Dianne Feinstein, the oldest serving female senator in US history, has passed away at the age of 90. It was first unclear what had caused death. Unnamed sources told the Associated Press and other media that Feinstein had passed away on Friday.
The oldest senator in the senate, the Californian had been fighting a series of health issues, including a painful case of shingles. Feinstein, who has been called a political pioneer by her fans, said earlier this year that she will not run for re-election in 2024.
It’s a sad day for the state of California and the country. Congresswoman Barbara Lee of California remarked on Twitter on Friday that Senator Feinstein “was a champion for our state and served as the voice of a political revolution for women.”
This is a sad day for California and the nation.
Sen. Feinstein was a champion for our state, and served as the voice of a political revolution for women.
My profound condolences go out to her family and loved ones.
— Barbara Lee (@BarbaraLeeForCA) September 29, 2023
When Dianne Feinstein was elected to the United States Senate in 1992, she made history as the first woman to represent California in the upper chamber of Congress. After the 9/11 attacks, her office spearheaded attempts to publish a report outlining the CIA’s torture program, which resulted in the detention of people all around the world.
The senator’s health problems have ruined his career in recent years. There were rumors that she had memory problems, leading some to question whether she was mentally competent to hold office. Despite mounting pressure to stand down in recent months, Senator Feinstein has maintained her position as an effective lawmaker.
We can still enact measures that will enhance people’s lives even while Congress is deeply divided. In a statement released in February, she explained why she would not be seeking reelection the following year.
“That’s what I’ve done for the last 30 years, and that’s what I plan to do for the next two years,” she added, committing to serving out the remainder of her term. “I appreciate the opportunity to have served the people of California.”
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That’s Quite a Legacy
On Friday, DNC chairman Jaime Harrison expressed his “heartbreak” at Feinstein’s passing. “She was a force for good and a titan of American politics,” he said on social media. During their 15 years working together in the Senate, President Joe Biden referred to Senator Dianne Feinstein as a “pioneering American” who was “sharp,” “tough,” and devoted.
Dianne left her impact on a wide range of issues, including national defense, environmental protection, and the defense of individual liberty. She has changed the course of history in countless ways, and her contributions to our country will be felt for years to come, Vice President Joe Biden said in a statement.
Senator Feinstein was a nothing short of an icon for women in politics—and when Californians asked her for help and support, she was always there.
She was fearless, and dedicated to a life of public service. May she rest in peace, and her legacy live on—forever.
— Rep. Lou Correa (@RepLouCorrea) September 29, 2023
From Washington, DC, Al Jazeera’s Patty Culhane said that Feinstein had “quite a legacy” to her name. “It’s hard to overstate just how important that position is,” Culhane remarked of her being the first woman to lead the Senate Intelligence Committee. Some leftists have criticized the senator for his actions, such as his support of the US invasion of Iraq in 2003.
However, in 1994, Feinstein introduced a measure that prohibited assault weapons in the United States, a significant legislative success. In light of recent mass shootings, Democrats have been pushing for a revival of the ban, which expired in 2004. Democratic Senator Chris Murphy, an outspoken proponent of stricter gun laws, lauded Feinstein’s work on the issue on Friday.
He attributed the existence of the present anti-gun violence campaign, which is “now stronger than the gun lobby,” to Dianne on social media. The late senator was also well praised by Republicans. GOP heavyweight and current Senate’s oldest member Chuck Grassley (90) has spoken highly of his “wonderful working relationship” with Democratic colleague Dianne Feinstein (D).
It was written that “Feinstein performed an exceptional job representing the [people of California].” Since California Governor Gavin Newsom must designate someone to fill the seat in the Senate until Feinstein’s tenure ends in January 2025, her death will have an impact on next year’s contest to succeed her in the Senate.
As an incumbent, the appointee would be at a significant advantage in the upcoming election. Lee, a Democrat from California’s congressional delegation, faces competition from fellow Democrats Katie Porter and Adam Schiff.
After Kamala Harris resigned her seat in 2021 to become Joe Biden’s running mate, California governor Gavin Newsom selected fellow state senator Alex Padilla to fill the vacancy. If Feinstein would not complete her term, the governor had already stated that he would choose a Black woman to replace her.
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