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‘Incredible Honor’: Dianne Feinstein Reaches Milestone 30 Years in U.S. Senate 

Written by The Standard StaffPublished Nov. 04, 2022 • 10:27am
Ranking member Sen. Dianne Feinstein (D-Calif.) arrives for a Senate Judiciary Committee hearing on Capitol Hill on Dec. 6, 2017, in Washington, D.C. | Drew Angerer/Getty Images

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It’s a celebratory week for U.S. Sen. Dianne Feinstein (D-Calif.), who marks her 30-year anniversary in the Senate on Nov. 4 and becomes the longest-serving woman senator on Nov. 5, surpassing Sen. Barbara Mikulski.

“It’s an incredible honor to become the longest-serving woman senator in our nation’s history, and I’m forever grateful to the people of California who sent me here to represent them,” said Feinstein in a statement.

Feinstein has a long career as a public servant that launched here in San Francisco. Born and raised in the city, she graduated high school from Convent of the Sacred Heart—now known as Convent and Stuart Hall—in Pacific Heights.

After completing her college studies at Stanford University in 1955, Feinstein worked in the nonprofit world and on various local boards before being elected in 1969 to the Board of Supervisors, serving as its first female president in 1970. 

Board president Dianne Feinstein works with other Board of Supervisors on Oct. 29, 1973. | Stephanie Maze/SF Chronicle via Getty Images

She twice ran for mayor and lost, but assumed the seat—becoming the first woman ever to do so in San Francisco—after the assassination of Mayor George Moscone and Supervisor Harvey Milk in 1978. 

Her election to the U.S. Senate in 1992 paved the way for more first-ever accomplishments—she became a trailblazer for women in leadership roles.

“It has been a great pleasure to watch more and more women walk the halls of the Senate,” said Feinstein in a statement. “We went from two women senators when I ran for office in 1992 to 24 today—and I know that number will keep climbing.”

Now Feinstein becomes the longest-tenured woman member of the U.S. Senate, with her Senate term ending in 2024.

See Also

Sen. Dianne Feinstein makes her opening remarks during a meeting of the Senate Judiciary Committee on Sept. 22, 2005, in Washington, D.C. | Win McNamee/Getty Images

However, in recent months, rumors have circulated about the senator’s potential mental decline and whether the search for her replacement in the Senate may need to happen sooner rather than later.

In a statement provided by her office in April, Feinstein did not seem at all inclined to vacate her post. “The real question is whether I’m still an effective representative for 40 million Californians, and the record shows that I am,” she wrote.

In her most recent press statement, Feinstein said, “I will continue to advocate for women’s rights in all aspects of life, I will continue to advocate for more women leaders and I will continue to do all I can to represent the people of California.”

See more photos of the Senator’s storied career below:

New San Francisco Supervisors are sworn in, with Dianne Feinstein taking over as President of the Board of Supervisors on Jan. 8, 1970. | Bill Young/SF Chronicle via Getty Images
Dianne Feinstein, the first female president of the San Francisco Board of Supervisors, at San Francisco City Hall in September 1971. | Bettmann Archive via Getty Images
Then-Supervisor Dianne Feinstein running for Mayor on Oct. 6, 1971. | Duke Downey/SF Chronicle via Getty Images
Dianne Feinstein poses in a Sutro Baths bathing suit at the opening of Pier 39, after losing a bet that the tourism center would open on time on Oct. 4, 1978. | Jerry Telfer/SF Chronicle via Getty Images
Dianne Feinstein bows her head for a moment of silence in memory of slain Mayor George Moscone and Supervisor Harvey Milk, before the supervisor meeting on the day of the murders in November 1978. | Jerry Telfer/SF Chronicle via Getty Images
San Francisco Mayor Dianne Feinstein stands in the middle of Steiner Street looking tough to illustrate her campaign of “taking a stand” against crime in San Francisco. | Roger Ressmeyer/CORBIS/VCG via Getty Images
Dianne Feinstein holds a copy of a billboard to be placed in 20 locations throughout the city on Jan. 20, 1983. | Michael Maloney/SF Chronicle via Getty Images
San Francisco mayor Dianne Feinstein, on a cable car in June 22, 1984. | Frederic Larson/SF Chronicle via Getty Images
Dianne Feinstein addresses the Democratic National Convention ahead of her election to the Senate in November 1992. | Mark Reinstein/Corbis via Getty Images
Sen. Dianne Feinstein talks with reporters before a Senate Judiciary Committee markup on Jan. 10, 2018. | Tom Williams/CQ Roll Call

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The Standard Staff can be reached at [email protected]


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