Dianne Feinstein, Longest-Serving Female Senator, Pass Away from Natural Causes

Dianne Feinstein | Biography, Senate, & Facts | Britannica

Photograher Beck Hammel
Dianne Feinstein, official Senate photo. Photographer/Beck Hammel

U.S. Sen. Dianne Feinstein, the longest-serving female senator, passed away on Sept. 29, at age 90. 

She died at her home in Washington D.C. from natural causes, her office said in a statement. 

Feinstein graduated from Stanford University with a bachelor’s degree in history. Her political career began when she was elected to the San Francisco Board of Supervisors after becoming involved with the California Women’s Parole Board. She became acting mayor of San Francisco on Nov. 27, 1978, after the assassination of Mayor George Moscone and Supervisor Harvey Milk. 

She officially became the first female mayor of San Francisco on Dec. 4, 1978. Feinstein’s leadership helped the city through the crisis of the double assassination that left San Francisco in a panic. Soon after, she would become the first female chair of the San Francisco Board of Supervisors. 

Feinstein’s political career created opportunities for other women to enter the sphere of politics. She ran an unsuccessful campaign for governor of California in 1990. 

Feinstein did a joint campaign with Barbara Boxer in 1992, both running for California’s Senate seats, with both women winning. This was a historic win for California as they had two women in the Senate. 

While being one of the first women elected as a senator, her career in the Senate often came with challenges. She held a moderate governing style and often advocated for gun control, wanting to pass a ban on assault weapons.

In 2014, Feinstein led the Senate floor reading a 500-page report on torture and mistreatment of prisoners by the CIA.

Born in San Francisco on June 22, 1933. She was the daughter of Leon Goldman, a surgeon, and Betty (nee Rosenburg), a model. Feinstein suffered from a traumatic childhood, resulting from her mother being unstable with her and her younger sisters. 

Feinstein was married three times in her lifetime. She married Jack Berman in 1956, and divorced in 1959, Bertram Feinstein in 1962 until his death in 1978, and married Richard Blum from 1980 to his death in 2022. 

She is survived by her daughter, Katherine Feinstein, her granddaughter, Eileen Feinstein Mariano, and her three stepdaughters. 

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