Dianne Feinstein made a career of political firsts, as first female gubernatorial candidate and first female senator for the state of California. Feinstein had an early interest in politics and impressed Edmund “Pat” Brown, the father of a classmate, as a teenager. When he later became governor in 1960, he appointed Feinstein to the California Women’s Board of Terms and Parole, where she began her long-term interest in prison reform. She then became the first woman president of the San Francisco Board of Supervisors. After the assassination of fellow board member Harvey Milk, Feinstein ran for mayor on a public safety and fiscal responsibility platform, adding police officers and balancing the budget during her two terms, as well as reviving the San Francisco cable car system. She ran for governor in 1990 and lost, but when California senator Pete Wilson became governor in 1992, she was elected to finish his term, and has been reelected by wide margins ever since. She has focused her senate career on gun control and immigration issues, as well as protecting people with AIDS or genetic predispositions to illness from being denied heath care.
How to cite this page
Jewish Women's Archive. "Dianne Feinstein." (Viewed on February 18, 2019) <https://jwa.org/people/feinstein-dianne>.