Dianne Feinstein, Trailblazing Longtime California Senator, Dies at 90

Dianne Feinstein, the trailblazing senator who represented California for 30 years, died on Thursday night. She was 90.

The news was confirmed in a statement from Feinstein’s chief of staff, James Sauls, posted to her X (formerly known as Twitter) account: “Sadly, Senator Feinstein passed away last night at her home in Washington, D.C. Her passing is a great los for so many, from those who loved and cared for her to the people of California that she dedicated her life to serving.”

A longtime member of the Democratic party, Feinstein was the oldest sitting member of Congress. As a woman in public office, she broke many barriers throughout her career. She was the longest-serving woman in Congress as well as the first woman to serve as Senator of California and the first female mayor of San Francisco. She was elected senator in 1992 and eventually became a senior member of Congress. Feinstein announced in February 2023 that she would not be seeking reelection after her term ended in 2024, following a series of health issues that prompted public concern.

Feinstein, née Dianne Emiel Goldman, was born in San Francisco on June 22, 1933 and was raised in the Presidio Terrace district of the city. She graduated from Stanford University in 1955. Following the assassination of Mayor George Moscone and City Supervisor Harvey Milk in 1978, Feinstein took on the role of mayor of San Francisco. She was elected to keep the position in 1979 and she served as mayor of the city until 1988.

As a senator, Feinstein voted on several pieces of legislation relating to the entertainment industry. For example, she supported the Music Modernization Act in 2018, which reformed the way that artists are paid for their work on streaming services. In 2005, Feinstein supported a bill that would make recording a film in a movie theater with a handheld camera a federal crime.

Charles Rivkin, the chairman and CEO of the Motion Picture Association, praised Feinstein’s Senate career after the announcement of her retirement: “The creative community will lose an incredible, stalwart ally in the Senate when Senator Dianne Feinstein finishes her term next year,” Rivkin said in a statement. “There have been few more ardent defenders of the First Amendment and copyright protections than Senator Feinstein, and her resolve and commitment will be sorely missed in Washington by the film, television, and streaming industry.”

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