Dianne Feinstein's career changed by violence

November 22, 1978

Political pioneer, tough leader, crime fighter, reformer: These are some of the words that describe Dianne Feinstein, former mayor of San Francisco and United States senator from California since 1992.

Institution: Senator Dianne Feinstein, California.

On November 22, 1978, San Francisco Mayor George Moscone and City Supervisor Harvey Milk were assassinated in City Hall by a former city supervisor, Dan White. Dianne Feinstein, who was then the President of the San Francisco’s Board of Supervisors, was the first to discover Harvey Milk’s body.

Feinstein, who was the first female president of the Board of Supervisors, was then sworn in as the first female mayor of San Francisco in Moscone’s stead. In 1979, she was elected to the first of two full terms as mayor. In 1992, she won a special Senate election to replace Pete Wilson who had left his seat to become governor of California. Joining her in winning election to the Senate in 1992 was Barbara Boxer, another Jewish woman. Feinstein was re-elected in 1994, 2000, and 2006.

Ashlee Temple plays Dianne Feinstein in the film Milk (2008) about Harvey Milk's life and the events leading up to his assassination.

Sources: E-mail communication to JWA from Senator Feinstein’s office, March, 2004; feinstein.senate.gov/public/.


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How to cite this page

Jewish Women's Archive. "Dianne Feinstein's career changed by violence." (Viewed on February 21, 2024) <http://jwa.org/thisweek/nov/22/1978/diane-feinstein>.