Jennifer Haberkorn

Los Angeles times

Senator Dianne Feinstein became the longest-serving Senator in California history on Sunday, breaking a record set in the 1940s.

The Democratic Senator has been in office for 10,372 days, breaking the record of Hiram Johnson, a former governor who took office in the Senate in March 1917 and served until his death in August 1945.

Feinstein, 87, declined an interview request, but said in a statement that she was proud of her work and “proud that I have made real changes over the years, from environmental protection and national security to consumer safety and the economy opportunity . “

She wrote the country’s first federal ban on assault weapons, which expired in 2004. As head of the Senate Intelligence Committee in 2014, Feinstein fought against both the Obama-era CIA and Republicans to expose unclassified portions of a massive government investigation into the use of torture in the United States.

Feinstein was first elected in 1992 and called the “Year of the Woman” as four new Senators were elected. He is the oldest female senator and the longest serving senator in office. But she’s not the longest-serving senator in history. Feinstein would break the record set by former Maryland Senator Barbara Mikulski late next year.

The reason is that Feinstein, a former mayor of San Francisco, has questions about her future in the Senate.

Democratic Governor Gavin Newsom kicked off the last round of this month when, in response to a question from a television interview, he pledged to nominate a black woman to replace Feinstein if her seat is vacated before her term ends in January 2025 .

Newsom later retired, saying he had no inside knowledge of her intention to resign and praised her career in the Senate.

For his part, Feinstein recently said she had pledged to serve the full term, adding that she knew nothing stopping her from doing so. Her husband Richard Blum hopes the Biden government will appoint him as an ambassador. But Feinstein said that wouldn’t persuade her to leave office.

Throughout her career, Feinstein’s moderate politics have stood out among other Senate Democrats. The distinguished nature and striving for impartiality that characterize them seem out of place in today’s bitterly divided Senate.

Feinstein said last year she would not try to chair the Senate Judiciary Committee as the progressives resisted over handling of recent Supreme Court confirmations and concerns that she would not stand up to Republicans. Some Senate Democrats also expressed concern that Feinstein was not up to the grinding task of committee chairman.

As she contemplates four more years of her Senate tenure alongside Biden’s presidency, Feinstein has the potential to advance her legislative legacy.

“I am determined to pass gun security bills. We urged Washington to tackle overdose deaths. We have bills to protect our oceans and aquatic animals. We are working hard to find shelter for veterans affected by homelessness – and those are just a handful of bills that we have already presented to this Congress, ”she said.

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