Revisit Senator Dianne Feinstein’s top accomplishments following the trailblazer’s death

Revisit Senator Dianne Feinstein’s top accomplishments following the trailblazer’s death


Senator Dianne Feinstein died on Friday at the age of 90. Not only was Feinstein the longest-serving woman senator in history, she was the first woman to serve as a U.S. senator for the state of California. Over her long career, she broke the glass ceiling time and time again. Here is a look back at some of her historic firsts.

First woman mayor of San Francisco

In 1969, Feinstein became the first woman president of the San Francisco Board of Supervisors. She then became the first woman mayor of her hometown in 1978 after Mayor George Moscone and Supervisor Harvey Milk, California’s first openly gay elected official, were assassinated.

She won election as San Francisco mayor the following year — the first woman to win a mayoral election in the city — and served two four-year terms. She was named America’s “Most Effective Mayor” by City and State Magazine in 1987.

California’s first woman U.S. senator

Feinstein was elected to the U.S. Senate in 1992 — the first woman senator to represent her home state, and just the 18th woman to serve in the U.S. Senate in the nation’s history. At the time, only four other women senators served alongside her.

Over the years she became the longest-serving woman in Senate history, and Feinstein also took on number of other “firsts.”

In 2009, she became the first woman to chair the Senate Select Committee on Intelligence. 

That year, she also became the first woman to preside over a presidential inauguration. As a member of the Senate Rules and Administration Committee, she chaired the 110th Congress and became the first woman to to chair the Joint Congressional Committee on Inaugural Ceremonies, a role that had her preside over President Barack Obama’s inauguration.

She was the first woman to become the top Democrat on the Senate Judiciary Committee. She held the role from 2017 to 2021 and helped shape “policy on criminal law, national security, immigration, civil rights and the courts,” according to her Senate office biography.

Feinstein’s legislative record and accomplishments

Feinstein was behind the first congressional action on global warming, according to her Senate office biography; her bipartisan bill in 2001 helped set fuel economy standards for cars, trucks and SUVs. 

She also backed a bipartisan bill that was the first to offer legal protection to forests by expediting the reduction of hazardous fuels. 

In addition to her focus on the environment, Feinstein’s legislative accomplishments also include securing the extension of the Violence Against Women Act until 2027 and helping outlawing the use of torture by the CIA, following an investigation she spearheaded on the agency’s use of so-called enhanced interrogation techniques.

She also authored the 1994 Assault Weapons Ban, which was in effect until 2004, and has since introduced several pieces of legislation aimed at banning or limiting the sales of assault weapons. It was an issue she felt especially passionate about, having seen the impact of gun violence firsthand when her two colleagues were assassinated in San Francisco City Hall.

Feinstein also led an initiative for Breast Cancer Research Stamps, postal stamps that help raise money for breast cancer research. The proceeds have raised more than $100 million since 1998, according to her biography. 



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