Senator Dianne Feinstein Announces Retirement, Praised for Breaking Glass Ceilings and Fighting Gun Violence
Senator Dianne Feinstein has announced that she will not seek reelection when her current term expires in 2024. Feinstein, at 89, is the oldest member of Congress and has served in the Senate since 1992. Feinstein is the longest-serving female US senator in history and has broken countless glass ceilings throughout her career.
Before she was elected to the Senate, Feinstein was the first female mayor of San Francisco and, before that, a member and the president of the city’s Board of Supervisors. Following the assassinations of Mayor George Moscone and city Supervisor Harvey Milk (the first openly gay elected official in California), she was elected mayor. Feinstein was the one who discovered Milk's body after he had been shot.
Feinstein's retirement has been long anticipated and comes after years of speculation about the senator’s mental fitness and concerns that Feinstein, who would be 91 by election day, was experiencing memory problems. Her announcement has already prompted a competition between fellow Democrats, including U.S. Reps. Katie Porter, Adam Schiff, and Barbara Lee, who have all declared campaigns for her seat.
Feinstein said in her statement that she remains focused on passing legislation to address gun violence, promote economic growth, and preserve U.S. lands in her remaining time as a senator. Feinstein was particularly closely associated with efforts to broaden gun restrictions, including championing the federal Assault Weapons Ban in 1994 and pushing for restrictive laws since the ban expired in 2004.
Senate Majority Leader Chuck Schumer, D-N.Y., praised Feinstein for her impactful career in the chamber. In a statement, Schumer said she “broke innumerable glass ceilings” along the way and called her “one of the finest legislators we’ve ever known.”
“Senator Feinstein has not only accomplished a great deal but is determined to do even more in the last two years of her term. All Americans continue to be blessed by her committed leadership,” Speaker of the House Nancy Pelosi, D-Calif., said in a statement.
Feinstein will be remembered for her fight against the “epidemic of gun violence” and her commitment to solving problems. It has been decades since there has been a wide open competition for the Senate seat now held by Feinstein, who has been a member of the Senate for 30 years. Her legacy will be one of trailblazing and advocacy for a fairer and safer future for all.
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