Here’s what fellow politicians are saying about her life and legacy.
Dianne Feinstein’s office
Feinstein’s chief of staff, James Sauls, released the following statement:
“Sadly, Senator Feinstein passed away last night at her home in Washington, D.C. Her passing is a great loss for so many, from those who loved and cared for her to the people of California that she dedicated her life to serving.
Senator Feinstein never backed away from a fight for what was just and right. 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.
There are few women who can be called senator, chairman, mayor, wife, mom and grandmother. Senator Feinstein was a force of nature who made an incredible impact on our country and her home state.
She left a legacy that is undeniable and extraordinary. There is much to say about who she was and what she did, but for now, we are going to grieve the passing of our beloved boss, mentor and friend.”
President Joe Biden released the following statement:
“Senator Dianne Feinstein was a pioneering American. A true trailblazer. And for Jill and me, a cherished friend.
In San Francisco, she showed enormous poise and courage in the wake of tragedy, and became a powerful voice for American values. Serving in the Senate together for more than 15 years, I had a front row seat to what Dianne was able to accomplish. It’s why I recruited her to serve on the Judiciary Committee when I was Chairman – I knew what she was made of, and I wanted her on our team. There’s no better example of her skillful legislating and sheer force of will than when she turned passion into purpose, and led the fight to ban assault weapons. Dianne made her mark on everything from national security to the environment to protecting civil liberties. She’s made history in so many ways, and our country will benefit from her legacy for generations.
Often the only woman in the room, Dianne was a role model for so many Americans – a job she took seriously by mentoring countless public servants, many of whom now serve in my Administration. She had an immense impact on younger female leaders for whom she generously opened doors. Dianne was tough, sharp, always prepared, and never pulled a punch, but she was also a kind and loyal friend, and that’s what Jill and I will miss the most.
As we mourn with her daughter Katherine and the Feinstein family, her team in the Senate, and the people of California, we take comfort that Dianne is reunited again with her beloved Richard. May God Bless Dianne Feinstein.”
Sen. Dianne Feinstein was the longest-serving woman in the Senate and got her political start in her hometown of San Francisco. NBC Bay Area political analyst Larry Gerston breaks down her long, illustrious career.
Senator Dianne Feinstein was one of the greatest public servants that California and our nation has ever known.
As the first woman president of the San Francisco Board of Supervisors, the first woman to serve as mayor of San Francisco, and the longest-tenured woman to serve in the United States Senate, Dianne Feinstein broke barriers, inspired generations of women to run for office, and improved the lives of millions of Americans through her vision, courage, and leadership.
From her work to help pass the Assault Weapons Ban in 1994, to her work to safeguard California’s public lands, and her longstanding advocacy for reproductive rights, marriage equality, and LGBTQ+ rights, Senator Feinstein helped build a better America.
For years, I witnessed Senator Feinstein’s leadership, when the cameras were on and when they were off. In 2008, when I was re-elected District Attorney of San Francisco, it was Senator Feinstein who swore me in. As a United States Senator, it was my honor to serve the people of California alongside Senator Feinstein.
On the Senate Intelligence Committee, we spent a great deal of time together—in classified, bipartisan briefings and hearings—working on issues critical to America’s national security and the stability of the world. Senator Feinstein and I shared a fundamental belief in the importance of strong American leadership. And I saw firsthand how she worked courageously to ensure that our leadership was guided by our nation’s values.
In the tradition of so many great Senators from California, she was not only a leader for our state, but for our nation and our world. Through her long career, Senator Feinstein worked across the aisle to help our nation live up to its promise.
Doug and I send our prayers to Senator Feinstein’s family.
Speaker Emerita Nancy Pelosi released the following statement:
“Paul, my daughter Nancy Corinne and I were heartbroken to learn of the passing of our dear friend Dianne Feinstein. For decades, Senator Feinstein was a pillar of public service in California: from San Francisco’s City Hall to the United States Capitol. Her indomitable, indefatigable leadership made a magnificent difference for our national security and personal safety, the health of our people and our planet, and the strength of our Democracy.
Dianne was a pioneering woman leader, who served as San Francisco’s first female Mayor with unmatched courage, poise and grace. Standing strong amid horror and heartbreak – from the brutal murders of Harvey Milk and George Moscone to the deadly HIV/AIDs epidemic – she offered our City a beacon of strength and hope.
In the United States Senate, she was a champion for the Golden State: bringing home billions of federal dollars while defending our state’s natural wonders. Blazing trails as the first woman to lead the powerful Intelligence Committee, she bolstered America’s moral standing and national security with her fierce opposition to the use of torture. On the Judiciary Committee, she authored and passed the Federal Assault Weapons Ban, which helped stem the tide of mass shootings for the ten years it was law and continued urging its renewal as an essential template for ending gun violence. A fierce champion for gender justice, her tireless advocacy was consequential in securing the reauthorization of the Violence Against Women Act.
Personally, it was a great honor to serve alongside Dianne for decades – from the hilly streets of San Francisco to the hallowed halls of Congress. We were not only colleagues, but neighbors and friends. My daughter, Nancy Corinne, has long been an admirer and devoted friend of Senator Feinstein, and we were all close friends with her and her late husband, Richard.
Dianne’s extraordinary career will continue to inspire countless young women and girls to pursue public service for generations to come. May it be a comfort to her daughter Katherine and her husband Rick, her granddaughter Eileen, and the entire Feinstein family that all Americans joins them in mourning at this sad time.”
“Earlier this morning, the flags over the U.S. Capitol were lowered in memory of Senator Dianne Feinstein. As California’s longest-serving senator, Dianne broke barriers and blazed a trail for women. Her career was, by any standards, historic. Dianne and I worked together many times on important issues affecting our state – including passing the most significant California water bill in 25 years. She truly cared about Californians and sought to find common ground to advance the interests of the Golden State. Judy and I extend our deepest condolences to her family, her friends, and her staff.”
“California lost a trailblazer for women and a political giant today. During half a century of public service, Senator Feinstein broke glass ceilings for women and fought fearlessly for a safer, stronger, more just nation. My deepest condolences go out to her family and loved ones.
“Senator Feinstein was a friend and mentor. She was a fearless trailblazer with an iron backbone who led the charge on gun control and never stood down from her demands of transparency and accountability in American government. Her colleagues in Congress knew her as a fighter who led with strength, grace, and grit, but also a gentle presence in the chamber. She was a legislative powerhouse in the Senate, championing major victories for our democracy, national security, gun reform, women’s and LGBTQ+ rights, and our environment. But she was also an artist, a loving wife and mother, and a cherished friend. Her legacy and impact have forever shaped our nation.
“This is a monumental day of loss. May she rest in peace.”
Dianne Feinstein will be rightly remembered as a trailblazer – the first woman to serve as mayor of San Francisco and the first woman elected to the Senate from California. But once she broke those barriers and walked through those doors, she got to work.
I first got to know Dianne in the Senate, where she was a fierce advocate for gun safety measures and civil rights. Later, when I was president, I came to rely on her as a trusted partner in the fight to guarantee affordable healthcare and economic opportunity for everyone.
The best politicians get into public service because they care about this country and the people they represent. That was certainly true of Dianne Feinstein, and all of us are better for it. Today Michelle and I are thinking of her daughter, Katherine, and everyone who knew and loved her.
California Gov. Gavin Newsom released the following statement:
“Dianne Feinstein was many things — a powerful, trailblazing U.S. Senator; an early voice for gun control; a leader in times of tragedy and chaos. But to me, she was a dear friend, a lifelong mentor, and a role model not only for me, but to my wife and daughters for what a powerful, effective leader looks like.
She was a political giant, whose tenacity was matched by her grace. She broke down barriers and glass ceilings, but never lost her belief in the spirit of political cooperation. And she was a fighter — for the city, the state and the country she loved. Every race she won, she made history, but her story wasn’t just about being the first woman in a particular political office, it was what she did for California, and for America, with that power once she earned it. That’s what she should be remembered for.
There is simply nobody who possessed the strength, gravitas, and fierceness of Dianne Feinstein. Jennifer and I are deeply saddened by her passing, and we will mourn with her family in this difficult time.”
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California Sen. Alex Padilla released the following statement:
“It is with profound sadness that I bid farewell to my dear friend, colleague, and champion for the State of California, Senator Dianne Feinstein.
Dianne Feinstein was a towering figure not just in modern California politics, but in the history of our state and our nation.
She broke barriers throughout her career. Her leadership as the City of San Francisco’s first female mayor in the aftermath of the tragic assassination of Mayor George Moscone and Supervisor Harvey Milk showcased her unique ability to lead with grace and strength in the face of adversity.
Following her election to the Senate over three decades ago, Dianne’s commitment to bipartisan collaboration made her a deeply respected figure on both sides of the aisle. She understood the importance of working together to find common ground and get things done for California, for the country, and for the American people. Her ability to bridge divides and find consensus, especially on the thorniest of issues, was a testament to her dedication to the principles of democracy.
And long before serving together in the Senate, Dianne gave me one of my first jobs in politics in her Los Angeles office at the start of my career as I was looking to make a difference in California. It’s in part thanks to her groundbreaking career that a Latino son of immigrants could one day not just work for her, but work alongside her in fighting to keep the American Dream alive.
As we mourn Senator Feinstein’s passing, let us also celebrate her incredible legacy. Her contributions to our nation, from gun safety and environmental conservation to national security and health care reform, are a reminder of the power of public service. For Californians, so much of our public lands have been preserved thanks to her singular drive and leadership, from the redwoods of the Headwaters and the San Francisco Bay, to Lake Tahoe and the California Desert.
She leaves behind a legacy of service, leadership, and a deep love for our country and our democratic ideals.
May she rest in peace, and may her legacy continue to inspire us all.”
San Francisco Mayor London Breed released the following statement:
“Dianne Feinstein was an icon and a trailblazer. She was a fierce and unrelenting champion for our City, our State, and our Country.
As Mayor of San Francisco, she bravely led this City out of dark, difficult times, lifting the spirits and hopes of so many who felt lost in the wake of tragedy. As the first woman to serve as Mayor, she showed everyone growing up in this City, including me, what could be accomplished by a strong and determined leader. Dianne Feinstein didn’t just break glass ceilings. She opened up new horizons.
As a Senator, she fought for the health, safety, and prosperity of everyone in California and the United States of America. She was a fierce and principled national leader who never backed down from a fight, while also working across divisions to bring people together and make meaningful change.
My sympathies and prayers go out to her entire family and all San Franciscans who loved and admired her. Her dedication to public service was only exceeded by her love for San Francisco, and this City loved her back. Her legacy as one of San Francisco’s true leaders will be admired for generations to come.
Simply put, there will never be another Dianne Feinstein.”
“Senator Dianne Feinstein was a trailblazing leader who positively changed our state and nation in many ways. She demonstrated her deep commitment to the Bay Area by taking an instrumental role in preserving the San Francisco Bay through the creation and expansion of the Don Edwards San Francisco Bay National Wildlife Refuge, a critical wetland area. Senator Feinstein was also instrumental in bringing BART (Bay Area Rapid Transit) to San Jose. Following the tragic deaths of San Francisco Supervisor Harvey Milk and Mayor George Moscone, Senator Feinstein’s resolute leadership reinforced her reputation as a courageous and compassionate icon. Her subsequent work in advancing gun control and public safety has protected many lives. Pattie and I extend our heartfelt condolences to Senator Feinstein’s family.”