Born in 1933 in San Francisco, Dianne Feinstein is a left leaning politician who has dedicated her life to serving the individuals of California, first on the neighborhood level and later on the national one. Becoming temporary mayor of San Francisco when the sitting mayor was shot and killed in 1978, she ran for the occupation the next year and won, holding the place until 1988. In 1992, however, she became the very first woman elected U.S. senator from California, a seat she’s held ever since. Born into a Jewish family, she attended a Roman Catholic school as well as a Jewish temple as a kid, and started showing an interest in politics around age 16. She graduated with her bachelor’s degree in 1955.
The next year, Feinstein wed Jack Berman, whom she met in the San Francisco district attorney’s office, and afterwards had a daughter. In 1959, she and Berman divorced, and another year Feinstein was named by Governor Pat Brown to the state’s Women’s Board of Parole (becoming the youngest member in the country). In 1960, she married Bertram Feinstein, a famous surgeon.
Feinstein held her Board of Parole position until 1966, and in 1968 she became an associate of the San Francisco Committee on Crime, an appointment that will color the remainder of her profession. She also ran for mayor twice with this interval (1971, 1975), losing both times.
The year 1978 was a terrible one for Feinstein. It indicated the conclusion of her second union, because of her husband’s untimely death, as well as the conclusion of her tenure as board president, when Mayor George Moscone and Supervisor Harvey Milk when both assassinated in November. Feinstein first became acting mayor (San Francisco’s first female mayor), subsequently was elected the following year and continued mayor until 1988. In 1980, Feinstein wed for a third time, to investment banker Richard Blum.
Following a unsuccessful 1990 effort to win the California governorship, Feinstein regrouped and ran in a special election to get a seat in the U.S. Senate in 1992. She won, becoming California’s senior senator, and was reelected in 1994, 2000, 2006 and 2012. The exact same year, Feinstein also spearheaded laws prohibiting the production, sale and possession of military-style assault weapons, that was signed into law on September 13, 1994.
Feinstein was the very first woman member of the Senate Judiciary Committee as well as the very first woman to chair the Senate Rules and Administration Committee. An untiring champion of the political left, she also continues to be involved with establishing and supporting the Crime Victims’ Bill of Rights, the California Desert Protection Act, the Small Company Shield Conversion Guarantee Act and laws to make the Breast Cancer Research Stamp.