Dianne Feinstein

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Dianne Feinstein
U.S. Senior Senator, California
image:DianneFeinstein.jpg
Party Democratic
Assumed office (class 1)

November 10, 1992
Serving with Barbara Boxer

Preceded by John F. Seymour
Committees
Born June 22, 1933
Spouse Richard C. Blum
Religion Jewish


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Diane Feinstein is the Senior Democratic Senator from California.

Contents

Biography

Dianne Feinstein was born in and began her political career in San Francisco, California. She has had a career of firsts - first woman President of the San Francisco Board of Supervisors. First woman mayor of San Francisco. First female US Senator elected from California. First woman to sit on the Senate Judiciary Committee.

She served on the San Francisco Board of Supervisors from 1970-1978. In November 1978, Feinstein bore the difficult duty of announcing to a shocked city that Mayor George Moscone and board member Harvey Milk had been assassinated. Feinstein became acting mayor and was well-regarded for her calm handling of a city inflamed by riots and grief. She won a narrow reelection in 1979 and after beating back a recall election in April 1983, won again in November of that year. Her electoral victory was so decisive that she was a finalist for the 1984 Vice Presidential nomination. During her tenure as mayor she was crediting for redeveloping downtown San Francisco, rebuilding the city's cable car system, and eliminating a deficit in the city budget.

After a narrow loss to Pete Wilson in the 1990 California gubernatorial race, Feinstein returned to win Wilson's vacated Senate seat in 1992, her 5,505,780 vote total being the highest for any senator in U.S. history. Two years later she was reelected to her first full term. In 2000, she was floated around as a possible running mate for Democratic Presidential nominee Al Gore. She also faced what was touted as a difficult foe, moderate Republican Tom Campbell. She won with 56% of the vote. By 2003 polls showed her to be the most popular politician in California. During the recall fiasco, Democrats begged her to run for governor (they had also begged her in 1998), but due to her own bitter recall memories, she chose not to plunge into such a high-profile race. Although she is over 70 years old, she remains energetic and is eager to run for a third full term in 2006.

Gun Control

Partially due to the killings of Moscone and Milk, Feinstein remains an ardent supporter of gun control. Even though many believe that the assault weapons ban she helped push through Congress and the White House played a major factor in the Republicans 1994 takeover of Congress, she continues to press for the ban to be renewed this year.

Feinstein is a strong proponent of gun control, yet is known to have carried concealed handguns herself with a normally nearly impossible to obtain California carry permit - few people, other than politicians and celebrities, are able to obtain California CCW permits. At one time, she was the only person in San Francisco to possess a concealed carry permit.

Extraordinary Rendition

During the may 18, 2006 Nomination Hearing of Gen. Michael V. Hayden as DCIA before the Senate Select Committee on Intelligence California Senator Diane Feinstein described the ethical and foreign policy problems attending the use of extraordinary rendition in simple but eloquent language: "They cast shadows on our morality, our dedication to human rights, and they disrupt our relations with key friends and allies."

Analysis

Feinstein's "centrist", cautious approach has made her reviled by the extremists of both sides. Although the city had more AIDS funding during her tenure than the entire nation during Ronald Reagan's years as President, her refusal to march in the annual gay pride parade angered many. Due to her banning handguns in San Francisco, and vetoing domestic partnerships for gay and lesbian couples, some gays and some gun rights propopents teamed up in the unsuccessful recall drive. However, when she was elected to the Senate, she voted against Defense of Marriage Act and is vigorously opposed to the Federal Marriage Amendment.

Respected for her bipartisan credentials, Feinstein has also been derided for being too "pro-Israel", and hostile to the cyberworld (Yahoo Internet Life named her among the 5 Least Net-Friendly members of Congress). She was also ridiculed by the left for her votes in favor of the Medicare bill and most of all, her vote in favor of war with Iraq, a vote that in July 2004 she said she regretted.

Committees

  • Senate Committee on Rules and Administration (Chairman)
  • Senate Committee on the Judiciary
    • Terrorism, Technology and Homeland Security (Chairman)
    • Administrative Oversight and the Courts
    • Crime and Drugs
    • Immigration, Border Security and Citizenship
    • The Constitution, Civil Rights, and Property Rights
  • Senate Committee on Appropriations
    • Interior and Related Agencies (Chairman)
    • Agriculture, Rural Development, Food and Drug Administration, and Related Agencies
    • Commerce, Justice, Science, and Related Agencies
    • Defense
    • Energy and Water Development
    • Transportation, Housing and Urban Development, and Related agencies
  • Senate Select Committee on Intelligence

Contact Information

GovTrack link

External Links

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