Lawmakers remember Dianne Feinstein as trailblazer for women’s rights, gun control


“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,” Pelosi said in a statement.

Dianne’s daughter, Katherine Feinstein, and Pelosi were seated in the gallery as Senate colleagues paid tribute. They sat closely together, with arms interlocked.

Senate Majority Leader Chuck Schumer in a speech on the Senate floor Friday morning called Feinstein “one of the most amazing people who ever graced the Senate, who ever graced the country.”

Sen. Dick Durbin (D-Ill.), who serves as majority whip and worked closely with Feinstein on the Senate Judiciary Committee for more than two decades, said in a statement that Feinstein “spent her time in office fighting for causes that many overlooked.”

“Dianne was my friend and seatmate on the Senate Judiciary Committee for more than twenty years. She never backed away from the toughest political battles she was always dignified and always effective. The Senate and those of us privileged to serve with her have lost a woman whose public service wrote an inspiring chapter in the history of our nation,” Durbin wrote.

Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell also spoke on the floor Friday morning to honor Feinstein.

“Her beloved home state of California and our entire nation are better for her dogged advocacy and diligent service,” McConnell said.

House Speaker Kevin McCarthy said in a Friday press conference that Feinstein had “inspired women from both sides of the aisle to seek elected office.”

“She leaves behind an incredible legacy — breaking barriers for women and taking real action against gun violence,” Sen. Mark Warner (D-Va.), who served with Feinstein on the Senate Intelligence Committee, tweeted Friday morning.

Sen. Chris Murphy (D-Conn.) remembered Feinstein for her efforts to strengthen gun control measures, adding that “the modern anti-gun violence movement, now stronger than the gun lobby, would not exist but for Dianne.”

Rep. Barbara Lee (D-Calif.), who launched a campaign for Feinstein’s Senate seat after the 90-year-old said she would not run for reelection earlier this year, said it’s a “sad day for California and the nation.”

“Sen. Feinstein was a champion for our state, and served as the voice of a political revolution for women,” Lee said on X.

Rep. Katie Porter (D-Calif.), who is also running for the Senate seat, called Feinstein a “trailblazer for women in California politics.” In her post on X, she highlighted the senator’s work on gun violence and anti-torture.

Rep. Adam Schiff (D-Calif.), another Senate hopeful, wrote in a statement that “today, the nation has truly lost a giant of the U.S. Senate, California has lost its trail-blazing leader, and I lost a real friend and mentor.”

“From leading an assault weapons ban to championing LGBTQ+ rights and becoming the first woman to lead the Senate Rules and Intelligence committees, Dianne Feinstein broke barriers and fought for the American people,” said Sen. Elizabeth Warren (D-Mass.) on X.

“She was an inspiration to me and so many women who followed her, and most importantly, she was my friend,” Sen. Debbie Stabenow (D-Mich.) wrote on X.

While Feinstein routinely butted heads with conservatives on issues like gun control and abortion access, an outpouring from her Republican colleagues remembered her fondly and highlighted her bipartisanship.

“Senator Feinstein was a political pioneer with a historic career of public service. Intelligent, hard working & always treated everyone with courtesy & respect,” Sen. Marco Rubio (R-Fla.) tweeted Friday morning. “May God grant her eternal rest.”

Tennessee Republican Sen. Marsha Blackburn remembered Feinstein for being a role model for women in politics, saying that “despite our differences, I enjoyed our work together to protect songwriters and take on Big Tech.”

Sen. Ron Johnson (R-Wis.), who worked closely with Feinstein on a number of bills, called her “a very gracious person.”

When Sen. Josh Hawley (R-Mo.) was elected to Congress in 2019, “no one was more welcoming … and no one was a better example. She was tough, incredibly smart, and effective,” he tweeted, noting her willingness to work across the aisle.


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