Dianne Feinstein – Senator, Mayor of San Francisco

DIANNE FEINSTEIN, OFFICIAL     Dianne Feinstein’s career has been a succession of firsts:

–the first woman to be President of the San Francisco Board of Supervisors

–the first woman to be Mayor of San Francisco

–the first woman elected Senator from the State of California

–the first woman member of the Senate Judiciary Committee

–the first woman to chair the Senate Rules and Administration Committee

–the first woman to chair the Senate Select Committee on Intelligence.

Dianne Feinstein was active in government as early as high school and, after graduating with a bachelor’s degree, she worked in city government. Her first political race was for the San Francisco Board of Supervisors. She served for two and a half terms, later serving as the board’s president. She also ran for mayor twice during this period, but lost both times. Her rise to mayor came from a tragedy in 1978. A disgruntled city supervisor assassinated then Mayor George Moscone and another supervisor, Harvey Milk. Feinstein filled the remainder of Moscone’s term and then was elected in her own right. She served for ten years. City and State magazine named her “Most Effective Mayor” in the nation.

When Dianne Feinstein ran for Governor of the State of California, she lost and, in a turn of events that seems almost like a game of musical chairs, she became Senator from California. Feinstein’s opponent for Governor was Pete Wilson, then U.S. Senator from California. When he stepped down from his Senate seat to become governor, Feinstein won his Senate seat in a special election. Because she took office immediately, she is Senior Senator from California, even though Barbara Boxer was elected to the Senate in the same election.

During Feinstein’s first term as senator she co-authored the Gun Free Schools Act, the Hate Crimes Sentencing Enhancement Act, and legislation to ban the manufacture, sale and possession of military-style assault weapons, all of which passed and were signed into law. In 1984, before the Democratic National Convention, rumors abounded that Walter Mondale would select a woman for Vice-President and Feinstein’s name was on his list. A woman was selected, but it was Geraldine Ferraro, not Feinstein.

Feinstein continues to champion gun laws, laws to protect our national security and laws related to crime and punishment. She also is passionate about protecting the earth’s environment and citizen’s health.

In 2010 The New York Times said Feinstein appeared more often on Sunday talk-shows than any other woman. That record probably still holds, because, as chair of the Committee on Intelligence, she is often in today’s news whiles the country debates surveillance of its citizens. She holds another record, not just as a woman, but as an elected U.S. Senator. In 2012 she won 7.75 million votes, more votes than any other Senator in history.

LEARN MORE:

LEAGUE OF WOMEN VOTERS BIO: http://www.smartvoter.org/2000/11/07/ca/state/vote/feinstein_d/bio.html

FROM THE National Journal, “Do Women Make Better Senators Than Men?” http://www.feinstein.senate.gov/public/index.cfm/feinstein-in-the-news?ID=829e9940-e915-4f86-888f-29ed8ce8ff50

DIANNE FEINSTEIN DEFENDING NSA:  http://www.politico.com/story/2013/06/dianne-feinstein-on-nsa-its-called-protecting-america-92340.html

BOOKS TO READ:

Dianne Feinstein: Never Let Them See You Cry by Jerry Roberts, and

Nine and Counting: The Women of the Senate Barbara Mikulski, Kay Bailey Hutchison, Dianne Feinstein, Barbara Boxer, Patty Murray, Olympia Snowe, Susan Collins, Mary Landrieu and Blanche L. Lincoln, written with Catherine Whitney

QUESTION OF THE WEEK:

Has tragedy ever made you stronger?

Madeleine Albright – Secretary of State

 ALBRIGHT ! FOR DRAFT BLOG 1-1                    Of all the “First Women To. . .” Madeleine Albright is number one on my list of women I would like to interview and, if I could invite some “First Women To. . .” to join me for dinner, she would receive the first invitation.

Madeleine Albright (born Marie Jana Korbelová) knew war and the effects of political activism intimately from an early age. Madeleine (a name she later received at French boarding school in Switzerland) was in London during the blitz, after her family fled Czechoslovakia to escape the Nazis in the era of Adolf Hitler. After the war her family returned to Prague and Belgrade but once again had to flee, this time from the Communists. Her father received political asylum in the United States, obtained a professorship at the University of Denver, and later mentored Condoleeza Rice.

Madeleine Albright’s own mentor was Zbigniew Brzezinski at Columbia. Like many women of her era she stayed home to raise her children but she continued her education, rising at 4:30 a.m. to study. Not surprisingly her interests and scholarship were in Eastern European topics and she became an expert.

Madeleine Albright was serving as chief legislative assistant for Senator Edmund Muskie when Brzezinski became National Security Advisor for the Carter administration and invited Albright to join him. When Carter left the White House she obtained a position at the Woodrow Wilson International Center for Scholars at the Smithsonian Institution and joined the academic staff at Georgetown University. She was a foreign policy advisor to members of the Democratic party, including Vice-Presidential candidate Geraldine Ferraro and Presidential candidate Michael Dukakis.

When President Bill Clinton became President, she managed the transition of the National Security Council for him. He appointed her as U.S. Ambassador to the United Nations and later nominated her as Secretary of State. In an action that hardly seems possible today, the Senate voted 99 to 0 to approve Albright.

Albright’s credits are extensive and her involvement in foreign affairs has not diminished. She has also received many honors, including the Presidential Medal of Freedom.

LEARN MORE:

To find out how Saddam Hussein started Madeleine Albright’s famous pin collection, see: http://www.ted.com/talks/madeleine_albright_on_being_a_woman_and_a_diplomat.html

Michael Dobbs’ Books on Madeleine Albright:  Madeleine Albright: Against All Odds; Madeleine Albright: A Twentieth-Century Odyssey

Two of Madeleine Albright’s Many Books: Madam Secretary: A Memoir;Read My Pins: Stories from a Diplomat’s Jewel Box 

QUESTION OF THE WEEK:

If you could interview one of the “First Women To. . .,” who would you choose? Which First Woman To. . .would you like to have as a dinner companion?