California’s senior senator — and the most senior woman in the chamber — took office in 1992 to fill the seat that Republican Pete Wilson vacated to become governor. (She had lost to him in the 1990 election.) Having served as mayor of San Francisco from 1978-88 upon the assassination of Mayor George Moscone (along with Sup. Harvey Milk) she was re-elected in 1994, 2000, 2006, and 2012.
I am running for reelection to the Senate. Lots more to do: ending gun violence, combating climate change, access to healthcare. I’m all in!
— Dianne Feinstein (@DianneFeinstein) October 9, 2017
Feinstein is the author of the 1994 ban on assault weapons and the failed 2013 legislation to extend it, but oddly, one day before her re-election announcement, stated that “no law” could have stopped Stephen Paddock, the shooter in last week’s Las Vegas massacre. (Feinstein is still pushing for legislation to ban bump stocks, equipment that makes it easier to re-load.)
Seen as a moderate in San Francisco during her time as mayor, Feinstein worked to save the cable cars but angered the LGBT community by torpedoing domestic-partner legislation and declining to march in the city’s Pride parade.
Throughout her 25 years in the Senate, Feinstein has often been on the left flank of the Democratic Party, and while she has supported the Affordable Care Act and the environment, she has also supported the Iraq War, the Patriot Act and its extension, and the controversial Foreign Intelligence Surveillance Act (FISA), which enabled the government to create massive data-sweeping programs that many civil liberties advocates denounced as overly broad. She is pro-death penalty and a strong foe of Edward Snowden. While she was mayor, she was seen as holding the LGBT community at arm’s length,
In a rather tone-deaf move, she told San Francisco audiences in late August that she had Trump could still be a good president. Too bad we have to leave it to retiring Republicans like Bob Corker to speak the truth.
If elected, the 84-year-old Feinstein would be 91 when she completes her term in 2025.