The student news site of Carlmont High School in Belmont, California.

Scot Scoop News

The student news site of Carlmont High School in Belmont, California.

Scot Scoop News

The student news site of Carlmont High School in Belmont, California.

Scot Scoop News

Breaking News: California Senator Dianne Feinstein dies at 90

The United States mourns the loss of an honored Senator and politician
Senator Dianne Feinstein / Senate Democrats / Flickr / CC BY 2.0 DEED
Senator Dianne Feinstein speaks at the United States Capitol on Oct. 22, 2020.

California Senator Dianne Feinstein died Thursday at the age of 90, leaving behind a legacy as a trailblazer and activist, along with an empty seat in the United States Senate.

“Senator Dianne Feinstein was a pioneering American. A true trailblazer. And for Jill and me, a cherished friend,” said President Joe Biden in a press release.

Feinstein was elected to the Senate in 1992, following a long career of political participation. In 1969, she was hired by the San Fransico Board of Supervisors and was later elected as San Francisco’s first female mayor in 1978. 

She also broke the glass ceiling in other areas when she became one of California’s first two female senators, the first woman to head the Senate Intelligence Committee, and the first woman to serve as the Judiciary Committee’s top Democrat.

As Senator, Feinstein passionately advocated for environmental protection, reproductive rights, and gun control. She broke gender barriers and even became the oldest sitting U.S. Senator.

But her health started declining in February of this year when she got shingles, forcing her to take a leave from the Senate for over two months. Around the same time, Feinstein announced that she would not run for reelection in 2024 but would still finish her 2023 term.

After her return to the Senate in May, her reliance on a wheelchair and speech troubles caused people to question her ability to finish her term, but she assured them of her ability to continue her job.

Now, California Governor Gavin Newsom must seek a replacement for a Senator for the second time in his career, the first being his appointment of Alex Padilla after Senator Kamala Harris became vice president.

“I’m curious to see how he (Newsom) wants to play. Does he want somebody who is insistent that they have no interest in staying in that position? Or does he want to play kingmaker and elevate somebody who’s not currently seeking the election who might be interested in running on their own after that term expires?” said Greer Stone, an AP United States Government and Microeconomics teacher and the vice mayor of Palo Alto.

Newsom previously pledged to fill any vacant senate seat with a Black woman; he later confirmed this pledge in an interview with NBC. He stated, however, that he would not appoint representative Barbara Lee, as some previously thought, due to his desire not to get involved with the upcoming primaries.

As California citizens wait for the announcement of their next senator, the country continues to mourn the loss of an honored politician. Newsom ordered all state flags to be flown at half-staff in honor of Feinstein.

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,” Newsom said in a press release. “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.”

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About the Contributor
Sienna Reinders
Sienna Reinders, Highlander Editor
Sienna Reinders, a senior at Carlmont, is a staff writer for Scot Scoop and an editor for The Highlander. She is a passionate journalist who has also taken her skills to UC Berkeley's Daily Cal newspaper, with internships in the summers of 2022 and 2023. When she is not writing, you can find her running with friends to train for her next cross country or track race. To view her portfolio, click here.

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