WATCH: Schumer Leads Senate in Moment of Silence, Tributes to Dianne Feinstein

Lauren Victoria Burke

Senate Majority Leader Chuck Schumer (D-NY) opened the Senate Friday morning with a moment of silence in memory of longtime California Sen. Dianne Feinstein, who passed away Thursday night at her home in Washington, D.C.


Following the moment of silence, Schumer and Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell (R-KY) paid tribute to her and shared memories.

Feinstein was the first female Senator from California, but was a trailblazing woman long before that. The San Francisco native graduated from Stanford University in 1955 and was appointed to the California Women's Parole Board by then-Governor Pat Brown in 1960. She was elected to the San Francisco Board of Supervisors in 1969 and then became the first female mayor of San Francisco in 1978, appointed by her colleagues after Mayor George Moscone and Supervisor Harvey Milk were assassinated. After a failed run for Governor in 1990, Feinstein ran for the U.S. Senate in 1992 and served there until her death.


Schumer noted that trailblazing, saying: "Today there are 25 women serving in this chamber, and every one of them would admit they stand on Dianne's shoulders."

Feinstein's chief of staff issued a statement Friday morning:

California Gov. Gavin Newsom, who will appoint a replacement for Feinstein, issued the following statement on X/Twitter:

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.


As this piece went to press, Senators were still sharing memories and tributes to Feinstein on the Senate floor, with Rep. Nancy Pelosi (D-CA) sitting with Feinstein's daughter, Katherine, in the Senate gallery.




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