US Sen. Dianne Feinstein, longest-serving woman senator, dies at 90

Feinstein was known for her independence and dedication to finding practical solutions for both California and the nation.
Posted at 9:00 AM, Sep 29, 2023

Democratic U.S. Sen. Dianne Feinstein of California has died at the age of 90.  

Feinstein passed away Thursday night at her home in Washington, D.C., according to a statement by her office.

 “Senator Feinstein never backed away from a fight for what was just and right,” the statement read. “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.” 

Born Dianne Goldman in San Francisco on June 22, 1933, Feinstein was California's senior and longest-serving woman senator, and was known for her independence and dedication to finding practical solutions for both California and the nation. 

Since her election to the Senate in 1992, Feinstein has led efforts to enhance car fuel efficiency, advocated for LGBTQ+ rights and gay marriage, championed environmental preservation, co-founded the AMBER Alert network, fought against border drug tunnels, and fought for improved water infrastructure for Californians.

"Dianne’s more than 30 years in the Senate reflect a life of service to her state of California and our nation. We are praying for her family, staff and all who knew and loved her," Sen. Rick Scott said following the announcement of her death.

In 1969, Feinstein was elected to the San Francisco Board of Supervisors, becoming its first female president. After Mayor George Moscone's assassination in 1978, she became San Francisco's first female mayor.

In the Senate, she was among California's first two female senators, the first woman to lead the Senate Intelligence Committee, and the first woman to serve as the Judiciary committee’s top Democrat.

Feinstein was also a major supporter of gun control legislation, and while she had announced in February that she was not going to run for reelection in 2024, she said she would serve out the remainder of her term and continue to fight the epidemic of gun violence.

"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 said then.

While her death was confirmed, the details on how she died were not announced. 

Last month she was hospitalized after suffering a "minor fall" at her home, and her spokesperson said she went home shortly after and was "doing well." 

In May, Feinstein's spokesperson stated she faced complications from her shingles diagnosis. Despite this, she returned to the Senate floor.

These health issues had prompted concerns from many, including some members of her own party, to call for her resignation. Feinstein resisted those calls, working until the day she died. 

President Joe Biden has ordered flags across the country to fly at half-staff until she is laid to rest. 

@scrippsnews Senator Dianne #Feinstein died in her home Thursday night at 90 years old. The California Democrat was the longest-serving female senator in U.S. history. #Senate ♬ original sound - Scripps News